youtube
youtube

Each Year's Most Popular YouTube Video

youtube
youtube

On an otherwise regular Monday in February 2005, video file sharing website YouTube was launched. At the time, founders Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, and Jawed Karim just wanted to find an easier way to share videos between them and their friends, but YouTube has turned into arguably the most popular video sharing site on the Internet. In honor of its 10th birthday (yes, YouTube was launched on Valentine’s Day!), here are the most popular YouTube videos released each year since.

1. “Touch of Gold” by Nike // 2005

Some of YouTube’s original hits have been taken down and re-uploaded over time, making it hard to exactly figure which ones from which year are the most popular. But this video—originally uploaded in 2005—is a good bet: The Nike commercial, centered on popular soccer star Ronaldinho, was the very first YouTube video to pass one million views.

2. “Evolution of Dance” by Judson Laipply // 2006

A perennial favorite on the viral video circuit, stand up comedian Judson Laipply’s “Evolution of Dance” first hit the video sharing site in 2006, where it quickly became the site’s most popular video. Racking up over 70 million views in just eight months, it was a long-time contender for top dog, and even though it no longer appears on even the top thirty list, it’s a long-time favorite. Laipply released a follow-up in 2009, and he promises a third video is still in the making.

3. “Charlie bit my finger—again!” by Harry and Charlie Davies-Carr // 2007

The only non-music video to break the all-time top ten, the 56-second long video about inter-sibling finger-biting was, at one time, the number one video on the site. Originally posted on May 22, 2007, the video didn’t take the top spot until over two years later, when it pushed “Evolution of Dance” out of the way (perhaps with great grace and style?) in October of 2009. The video is—somehow—still the number five video on the site, and the channel that hosts it has nearly 300,000 subscribers.

4. “An Experiment” // 2008

If aliens came to Earth and wanted to understand viral videos, this is the clip to show them. A 24 second video of what appears to be the Coke and Mentos experiment got over 274 million views and is in the top 150 videos of all time. For comparison, Katy Perry (who we'll be seeing a lot more of in a bit) released "Hot and Cold" in 2008, which has managed a feeble 222 million views.

5. “Bad Romance” by Lady Gaga // 2009

This video—Gaga’s highest entry into the annals of YouTube popularity—was uploaded in November 2009, eventually pulling in over 614 million viewers (it’s currently seventeenth overall). It is also the only video on the site’s 30 most popular videos that is set at a Russian bathhouse and involves its protagonist killing someone, so points to Gaga for always going her own way.

6. “Baby” by Justin Bieber // 2010

Canadian pop sensation Justin Bieber was already well on his way to meteoric superstardom by the time the music video for “Baby” hit the Internet on February 19, 2010. With his debut album “My World 2.0” just a month away from release, the so-called “Beliebers” were already starting to assemble—they just needed something to really get behind. They found it in the bowling alley-set music video, a sweet ode to young teen love, with extra hair-tossing to spare. The video stayed number one on the site for over two years, until yet another pop video—“Gangnam Style”—usurped it, eventually earning nearly double its views.

7. “Party Rock Anthem” by LMFAO // 2011

The club banger earworm of the decade, trussed up with a surprisingly inventive music video. “Party Rock Anthem” the song may be about the good times, but “Party Rock Anthem” the music video somewhat oddly pulls from the horror film 28 Days Later for its inspiration. Party until you … die? Then keep partying? That’s actually the thrust of the entire video, as LMFAO members Redfoo and Sky Blu party so hard that they actually fall into a coma, only to wake up to a world that can only “shuffle” to their own hit single all day, every day. The video was released on March 8, 2011, and though it has yet to break a billion views (it hovers just under the 819 million mark), it’s still the number four most-viewed video on the site.

8. “Gangnam Style” by Psy // 2012

Uploaded in the middle of an otherwise ordinary summer, South Korean pop star Psy’s 2012 music video for his smash hit “Gangnam Style” didn’t set out to change the YouTube landscape, but that’s exactly what the dance-heavy video ended up doing. Not only did “Gangnam Style” become the most popular YouTube video of 2012, it became the most popular YouTube video of all-time. By November 2012, “Gangnam Style” secured the top spot by ousting the previous number one video (Justin Bieber’s “Baby”). By December, it became the first YouTube video to cross the billion-view mark. Two years later, in December of 2014, the video “broke” YouTube’s view counter, which had previously used a 32-bit integer to measure video views. Once “Gangnam Style” crossed 2,147,483,647 views, YouTube was forced to change their view counter to use a 64-bit integer to keep track of its video views.

9. “Roar” by Katy Perry // 2013

YouTube may not be a video-sharing site that exists solely to provide the masses with hot, fresh music videos, but it might as well be. After all, nine of the top ten viewed videos of all time are music vids for various pop songs (with Perry and Psy leading the pack with two each). The most-viewed video of 2013, Perry’s “Roar” is hovering around the 800 million view mark. The video’s popularity was aided by all sorts of teases before it even appeared on the site in September of 2013. Two weeks before release, a 21-second teaser was available online. The day before, Nokia pushed out a two-minute “behind the scenes” look at the jungle-themed video. Sound like a lot of work? Well, it panned out—“Roar” is now the biggest video to come out of 2013 and is just ahead of Psy’s "Gentleman."

10. “Dark Horse” by Katy Perry, featuring Juicy J // 2014

It’s a two-fer for Perry, who not only has the most popular YouTube video from 2013, but also the most popular YouTube video of 2014. First uploaded in February of 2014, the “Dark Horse” video is also third most popular video overall, passing “Party Rock Anthem” yesterday, and trailing “Baby” by 300 million.

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Logitech
This $40 Wireless Keyboard is Solar-Powered and Might Just Revolutionize Your Workspace
Logitech
Logitech

Meet the $40 solar-powered keyboard that's about to make your life a whole lot easier.

The Logitech K750 Wireless Solar Keyboard can be charged by sunlight as well as artificial lights, like your desk lamp, and stays juiced up for at least three months in total darkness. With this innovative gadget, Logitech is eliminating the annoyances that come with other wireless keyboards, like constantly having to change the batteries or plug it in to recharge. Best of all, the Windows-compatible model is on sale at Amazon for $39.99, down from $59.99. Never fear, Mac users—there's a model for you, too (although it's slightly pricier at $54.88).

(Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we only get commission on items you buy and don’t return, so we’re only happy if you’re happy.)

Having a reliable wireless keyboard can save you time and undue stress, whether you work in a cubicle or a home office. Plus, at one third of an inch thick, the keyboard is so sleek that Logitech compares it to typing on a laptop (and Amazon reviewers agree). You can monitor the gadget's power level by downloading the Logitech Solar App for your computer. Setting it up is easy: Just plug the receiver into your computer and you're done. It also comes with a three-year warranty for peace of mind.

solar keyboard
Logitech

Customers rave about this gadget on Amazon: One person writes that it's "the single best keyboard I have ever owned." Another loyal customer notes, "I first encountered one at work, and I liked it so much that when I switched jobs, I had to get another!"

Take advantage of this deal on Amazon while you can. While you're at it, check out the $95 mattress that Amazon customers are losing their minds over.

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Focus Features
How Mister Rogers Saved the VCR
Focus Features
Focus Features

In 1984, a landmark case laid down a controversial law regarding technology and copyright infringement. Here's a look back at the "Betamax Case," including the role Fred Rogers played in the Supreme Court's decision.

For many years in the pre-DVD/Blu-ray, pre-streaming era, the BetamaxSony’s prototype videotape player-recorder—was a punch line. A piece of technology that was quickly superseded by VHS and the VCR, it limped along in the shadows for two decades. And yet, it was the Betamax that gave its name to a court case that has played a pivotal role in both technological progress and copyright law over the last 30-plus years.

Like many other cool electronic products, the Betamax came from Japan. In late 1975, it was introduced to the U.S. by Sony, who touted its ability to “time-shift” television programming. In an era when most viewers still had to get up off the couch to change channels manually, this innovation was as futuristic as it sounded. Record a TV show right off the air? Are you kidding?

If the public was wowed by the idea, the major entertainment corporations were not. Universal Studios and Walt Disney Productions filed a lawsuit in 1976 to halt the sale of the Betamax, claiming that film and TV producers would lose millions of dollars from unauthorized duplication and distribution of their copyrighted content.

When the case finally went to trial in 1979, the U. S. District Court ruled in favor of Sony, stating that taping programs for entertainment or time-shifting was fair use, and did not infringe on copyright. Further, there was no proof that the practice did any economic harm to the television or motion picture industry.

But Universal, unhappy with the verdict, appealed in 1981, and the ruling was reversed. Keep in mind that up until the arrival of the Betamax, movie studios had received a cut of the box office or fee whenever one of their films was shown. Now suddenly here was a rapidly expanding scenario that undermined that structure. And in this scenario was the seed of much that would follow over the next 34 years, right through today’s ongoing battles over illegal streaming sites.

MISTER ROGERS GOES TO WASHINGTON

With large sums of money and copyright ownership at stake, the Betamax case arrived at the Supreme Court in 1983. By this point, nearly 50 percent of all homes in America had a VCR (VHS replaced Betamax, mainly because its tapes had longer recording capability) and sales of videocassettes were competing with theatrical box office. Universal Studios vs. Sony Corporation of America, nicknamed the “Betamax Case,” was argued for a year. It was a trial of extremes. On one hand, you had Jack Valenti, the head of the Motion Picture Association of America, yelling about the “savagery and ravages” of the VCR, and claiming that "the VCR is to the American film producer and the American public as the Boston strangler is to the woman home alone." On the other, you had the testimony from Fred Rogers. Defending the VCR, he said:

"I have always felt that with the advent of all of this new technology that allows people to tape the 'Neighborhood' off-the-air ... they then become much more active in the programming of their family’s television life. Very frankly, I am opposed to people being programmed by others. My whole approach in broadcasting has always been ‘You are an important person just the way you are. You can make healthy decisions’ ... I just feel that anything that allows a person to be more active in the control of his or her life, in a healthy way, is important."

The Supreme Court ruled in favor of Sony and cited Rogers's comments: "He testified that he had absolutely no objection to home taping for noncommercial use and expressed the opinion that it is a real service to families to be able to record children's programs and to show them at appropriate times."

The decision set two major precedents. The first upheld the original decision—that recording a broadcast program for later viewing is fair use. The second was, and still is, controversial—that the manufacturer of a device or technology that can be used for copyright infringement but also has “substantial non-infringing uses” can’t be held liable for copyright violations by those who use it. It’s kind of technology’s version of “don’t shoot the messenger.”

The same points of law would reemerge two decades later in cases against file-sharing sites Napster and Grokster (in the latter, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously against them for trading copyrighted material). Of course, despite the popularity of legal movie and TV streaming sites like Netflix and Hulu, file sharing continues. Whether it can be, or should be, stopped is a subject for another day. But it’s worth remembering that all the manufacturers of technology capable of copyright infringing (from computers to iPhones to DVRs) continue to sell their wares without fear of lawsuits because of the once-laughed-at Betamax.

To discover more about the fascinating life of Fred Rogers, check out Won't You Be My Neighbor?, the new documentary from Focus Features, which arrives in theaters on June 8, 2018.

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