The Vancouver Playhouse has a “trailer” for the play on their website. It’s WMV, and in a silly little popup window. I moved it over to YouTube, where it belongs.
I appreciate that I had no legal right to post the video, but it’s unquestionably an advertisement. I assumed that the folks involved–the production, the actors and the Playhouse–would want me to propagate that ad to new viewers. That, after all, is how these things work.
It’s not like I broke YouTube’s servers–as of today the thing had 71 views. Of course, if ten people attend the play as a result of my little upload, that’s another $500 for the theatre company.
Today, through an intermediary, I received a request to remove the clip from YouTube. Apparently posting it there “contravenes the Canadian ActorÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Equity Agreement”.
No Passionate Users Required
Of course, I could have left it up there. And I could easily open a new account and upload it to the site. Or I could encourage each of you to grab the video for yourself and upload, like, 40 copies to YouTube. But I didn’t. I just removed it, because I like the show, the actor, the company and it’s no big deal either way.
I certainly don’t fault the Playhouse–they’re trying to be innovative. Creating trailers for their shows is a great way to do that–they just happen to be restricted in how they can share them.
I do fault Canadian Actors Equity. They’re the “professional association of performers, directors, choreographers, fight directors and stage managers in English Canada who are engaged in live performance in theatre, opera and dance.” They’re a union, and they’re a particularly backward and draconian one by all accounts. I’ve probably got a dozen stories from friends and colleagues about how their regulations have prevented artistic projects, large and small, from succeeding. It’s a really tragedy that they’ve got such a lock on the industry.
After all, who am I? I’m an audience member (a passionate user, to use Kathy Sierra’s phrase) keen enough to actually promote their members’ work. And what do I get for it? A polite slap on the wrist.
Some institutions are going to be dragged, out Herroding Herrod, into the twenty-first century.