Posted December 13, 2010 7:13 pm by with 5 comments

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YouTube made an interesting move this week that appears to be a portent of things to come. Only a few months after raising the maximum video time from ten minutes to fifteen, they’re now removing the cap completely — but only for the privileged few.

To see if your account has been selected, log in and click the upload button. Chances are you’re still stuck on fifteen but for how long?

In the past, limiting video time might have been related to bandwidth issues both on site and for the average user. But with faster processors and the switch from dial-up to cable, downloading and watching a fifteen minute video isn’t a problem for most users.

So why not remove the cap across the board? Copyright. That’s why. Sure people are uploading whole movies and TV shows now, but to do it they have to break the file into pieces and that’s too much trouble for most. Remove the cap and the number of unauthorized uploads is likely to climb faster than Tarzan heading for a night of romance with Jane.

Copyright issues aside, there’s a bigger problem with an unlimited cap and that’s boredom. Does anyone really want to watch a forty minute video of cats playing with the Christmas wrapping paper? It’s going to happen. You know it.

So what’s to be gained by lifting the cap completely? It will be an opportunity for filmmakers to get their work out to a wider audience.  And I wouldn’t put it past YouTube to create a “film division” that nurtures new talent. After that, we’ll all be sitting in the theater watching the first  full-length film from YouTube Productions. It could be a way of cracking the studio system and as a person who works with a lot of small filmmakers, I’m all for it.

What do you think? Is the removal of the YouTube time limit a good thing or will it just be more of same, only longer?
Thanks to ReelSEO for the head’s up.

  • This is odd. I have a message on top of my upload page that says: “Congratulations! Your account is now enabled for uploads longer than 15 minutes. Click the Upload button below to select a video.”

    Next to the upload button I still have the message saying that I’m limited to 15 minutes and 2GB.

    If I had 15 minutes worth of anything good, I might be willing to try it out.

    • Cynthia Boris

      Mixed message? Not surprising. It doesn’t sound like this was a well thought out plan.

  • I work in law firm marketing so I think this is a great feature. Lawyers have a ton of information to share and this allows them to capture speeches, conferences, etc. in their entirety. I don’t have the unlimited time limit yet though!

  • Ray

    Fifteen minutes seems like more than enough time for good content. I would prefer to see more good quality content, instead of the high volume of repetitive content. Giving the average user more time is only going to give us a flood of never-ending reality-TV show clips. Not a good thing, in my opinion.

  • Craig Mullins

    Woo hoo Got invited.