All the cool geeks are talking about Google buying YouTube and taking down thousands of copyrighted works and handing over user information to lawyers. And I'm sure I could post a rather lengthy diatribe about digital rights management and the DMCA and all that fun stuff, but I don't know if I have too much to add to the topic that hasn't already been covered, better, by someone with more research. I will however, comment on one somewhat sidebar issue.
The whole point of YouTube, according to their tagline is to "broadcast yourself". And I will admit, I have enjoyed the easy access to television commercials and music videos just as much as the next guy, but really, those kids are just photocopying pages from the encyclopedia and turning them in as their final paper. The best of the best, the videos that really make YouTube special, are the ones that people made themselves. Videos of kids singing the alphabet, or dogs with spaghetti wrapped around their snouts, or lip-synching to romanian pop songs, or putting on little back-yard plays, or hilarious little flash animations making fun of the president. The copyrighted works were bound to go away eventually - agree or disagree with the law, everyone knew that it was illegal. And maybe, once the initial frustration has gone away, the internet will get back to being creative.