zefr-screenshot

Copyright holders must constantly fight a dogged battle on YouTube to keep their product in licensed hands. We’ve all felt the disappointment of clicking on an interesting video only to find it’s been pulled to a copyright claim by Paramount or MLB or Sony Music or whoever. It’s a bit annoying, but I understand that these everyone is very much entitled to protect their intellectual property. It’s a sticky situation, but Zefr, formerly known as MovieClips, is looking to make things smoother for everybody.

If you’re like me, and you search for your favorite film scenes on YouTube, you’ve undoubtedly come across MovieClips; they have posted licensed clips and trailers from many different movies, with a total of 465 videos and counting. Each one ends by encouraging the user to click around and view more clips from the same movie. MovieClips works with several studios to create a monetized source for footage. The channels’ 400 million video views (Zefr reports it has 900 million views throughout its channels) would suggest that their model is making a lot of money for studios while giving fans a reliable, HD-quality collection of their favorite scenes. Thanks to them, I can now sit back and watch the opening scene from Children of Men fifty thousand times. Take a look to see how the MovieClips model operates:

Warning: Graphic content, not for the faint of heart. Also, amazing filmmaking.

MovieClips’ also works with users who have previously uploaded their favorite movie scenes; instead of being forced to take their upload down, these users can instead unite under the MovieClips umbrella; the footage can still be seen, but the studio can also make money off of it. In this way, the system is good for studios, viewers, rogue uploaders, and MovieClips themselves.

MovieClips is now Zefr, and they’ve secured a ton of money from various investors. The rebranding and recent push is all related to Zefr’s plan to move beyond movies and into sports, TV, and music, where VEVO currently runs a platform with incredible success. However, while VEVO often tends to bring the hammer down on good-intentioned uploaders, Zefr hopes to create a compromise between all sides. Could their model usher in a new era of copyright harmony? All I know is that it’s about time we got some good quality MLB highlights on YouTube.

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