On our vidcast, we regularly herald the arrival of freshly baked websites, tempting both video producers and viewers with yet another, perhaps narrower slice of the online video distribution pie. In fact, during our planning meetings, it's practically a running joke that we should be providing this type of news update on an hourly, not weekly basis. We are clearly in the midst of a revolution. But, as amateur video producers, is it still too early to try to find our place in this new video distribution model? Maybe; but let's give it a shot anyway. Let's assume there are two types of amateur video producers. Those that simply enjoy the filmmaking process as a hobby and want to share their creation with the world, we'll call them Hobbyists; and another that wants to refine their skills to a point where people will be willing to pay to view it, let's call them Entrepreneurs. If you feel like you fall outside this admittedly crude delineation, maybe you're in transition from one to the other or are getting ready to quit your day job to become a pro; great! Online opportunities for the Hobbyist have exploded during the past year. Of course, the 273 pound Gorilla is YouTube, but there are many others like MySpace, VideoEgg, Google, and many others. For a listing, be sure to check out the August Videomaker issue. Things get trickier for the Entrepreneur. Fresh models to make money with video have been popping out of the VC-Bake Oven with increasing regularity. Even sites that began as purely free sharing models are taking tentative steps into morphing into a monetized model. So use caution. Before you decide to either dive in and spread your video at every new site, or invest in maximizing the benefits of a single outlet, READ THE FINE PRINT! Specifically, you want to know a minimum of three things: 1. Do you still own the copyright? By uploading your video, several sites can then do what they want with your work. Before you get serious about making money online, it's a good idea to read (or at least understand the basic principles of) the Digital Millenium Copyright Act. 2. Will advertising be inserted into or around your finished video? Other models include retaining the right to place ads. Some offer a little control over the type, but the majority do not. 3. How will you get paid? Is there a revenue sharing agreement? Is it based on views, downloads, or another formula? Is payment based on voting or some type of contest format? In short, while the benefits of online distribution are incredibly attractive, if you want to ensure all of the creative, duplication, and distribution rights to your work; look closely before you take the jump. Mergers and acquisitions of many of the current players is all but inevitablethe most recent of which include rumbleings of a Google/YouTube mashup. How any of these business shifts will impact the ownership of your posted work is anyone's guess.

Videomaker
The Videomaker Editors are dedicated to bringing you the information you need to produce and share better video.

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