In their book, Connecting to the Net.Generation: What Higher Education Professionals Need to Know About Today's Students, Reynol Junco and Jeanna Mastrodicasa (2007) found that in a survey of 7,705 college students in the US:
97% own a computer
94% own a cell phone
76% use Instant Messaging.
15% of IM users are logged on 24 hours a day/7 days a week
34% use websites as their primary source of news
28% own a blog and 44% read blogs
49% download music using peer-to-peer file sharing
75% of college students have a Facebook account 
60% own some type of portable music and/or video device such as an iPod.
In his book Growing Up Digital, business strategist and psychologist Don Tapscott coined the term "Net Generation" for the group, pointing at the significance of being the first to grow up immersed in a digital—and Internet—driven world. The NetGen research conducted by Don's company New Paradigm follows those individuals born between 1977 and 1997.
YouTube is a video sharing website where users can upload, view and share video clips. YouTube was created in mid-February 2005 by three former PayPal employees. The San Bruno-based service uses Adobe Flash technology to display a wide variety of video content, including movie clips, TV clips and music videos, as well as amateur content such as videoblogging and short original videos. In October 2006, Google Inc. announced that it had reached a deal to acquire the company for US$1.65 billion in Google stock. The deal closed on November 13, 2006.
Unregistered users can watch most videos on the site, while registered users are permitted to upload an unlimited number of videos. Some videos are available only to users of age 18 or older (e.g. videos containing potentially offensive content). The uploading of pornography or videos containing nudity is prohibited. Related videos, determined by title and tags, appear onscreen to the right of a given video. In YouTube's second year, functions were added to enhance user ability to post video 'responses' and subscribe to content feeds.
Few statistics are publicly available regarding the number of videos on YouTube. However, in July 2006, the company revealed that more than 100 million videos were being watched every day, and 2.5 billion videos were watched in June 2006. 50,000 videos were being added per day in May 2006, and this increased to 65,000 by July.
In August 2006, The Wall Street Journal published an article revealing that YouTube was hosting about 6.1 million videos (requiring about 45 terabytes of storage space), and had about 500,000 user accounts. As of January 6, 2008 , a YouTube search for "*" returns about 64,000,000 videos (the asterisk is a commonly used wildcard character in search engines, therefore showing all videos). On January 2, the number was 61.7 million, showing an average of 825,000 new videos every day the past 4 days.
Domain name problem
YouTube's immense success has unintentionally affected the business of an American company, Universal Tube & Rollform Equipment Corp., whose website, utube.com, was frequently overloaded and shut down by extremely high numbers of visitors unsure about the spelling of YouTube's domain name, but now utube.com is up and running again At the beginning of November 2006, Universal Tube filed suit in federal court against YouTube, requesting that the youtube.com domain be transferred to them.
Political candidates for the 2008 U.S. Presidential election have been using YouTube as an outlet for advertising their candidacies. Voters can view candidate statements and make videos supporting (or opposing) presidential candidates (e.g., videos for Ron Paul, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and Joe Biden). Third Party presidential candidates have also made extensive use of YouTube. Libertarian Steve Kubby's campaign debuted a short animated film, featuring the faces and voices of campaign contributors who financed its production, on YouTube on September 29th, 2007. The U.S. media has often commented that YouTube played a significant role in the 2006 defeat of Republican Senator George Allen due to a video clip of him making allegedly racist remarks that was continuously replayed by YouTube viewers during the campaign. Political commentators such as James Kotecki have also joined the YouTube world of politics. Many commentators make videos on YouTube critiquing a presidential candidate's YouTube videos, or simply using YouTube as a medium to get their opinions heard. Recently, French and Italian politicians, such as Antonio Di Pietro, have also been using the site as part of their campaigns. YouTube has also been used by Australian Prime Minister John Howard in the lead up to the 2007 federal election.
In the run up to the 2008 Presidential elections, CNN aired a debate in which candidates fielded questions selected from a pool submitted by users of YouTube. Because of the use of technology to aggregate questions from a wide range of constituents, the forum has been referred to as "most democratic Presidential Debate ever”.
Copyright infringement and controversial material
YouTube policy does not give permission for anyone to upload content not permitted by United States copyright law, the organisation frequently removing upon request a vast quantity of infringing content.
Despite this, a large amount of potentially infringing content continues to be uploaded (e.g., television shows/clips, film clips, commercials, or music videos). This is despite a decision in October 2007 to allow media companies to block their copyrighted video content loaded onto YouTube without seeking any prior permission., You Tube does not 'pre-screen' videos uploaded to its site (This is partly due to such pre-screening creating additional liabilities in respect of infringing material).
Until 2007, unless a copyright holder reported violation or infringement, YouTube generally discovered such content via indications within the YouTube community through self-policing. For a brief time, individual members could also report on one another. The flagging feature, intended as a means of reporting questionable content, has been subject to considerable abuse; for a time, some users were flagging other users' original content for copyright violations out of spite. YouTube proceeded to remove copyright infringement from the list of flaggable offenses.
Since 2007, changes to the interface mean that only rights holders are able to directly report copyright violations, even if they are obvious to casual viewers.
YouTube generally identifies video content through search terms that uploaders associate with clips. Some deceptive users create alternative search terms when uploading specific file types (similar to the deliberate misspelling of band names on MP3 filesharing networks).
Hollywood remains divided on YouTube, as "'the marketing guys love YouTube and the legal guys hate it.'" Further,
While lawyers are demanding filtering technology, many Hollywood execs actually enjoy the fact that YouTube only takes down clips when they request it. "If I found part of a successful show up on YouTube today, I'd probably pull it down immediately .... If I had a show that wasn't doing so well in the ratings and could use the promotion, I wouldn't be in a rush to do that."
Content owners are not just targeting YouTube for copyright infringements, but are also targeting third party websites that link to infringing content on YouTube and other video-sharing sites, for example, QuickSilverScreen vs. Fox, Daily Episodes vs. Fox, and Columbia vs. Slashfilm. The liability of linking remains a grey area with cases for and against. The law in the U.S. currently leans towards website owners being liable for infringing linksalthough they are often protected by the DMCA providing they take down infringing content when issued with a take down notice. However, a recent court ruling in the U.S. found Google not liable for linking to infringing content (Perfect 10 v. Google, Inc.).
On October 5, 2006, the Japanese Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers (JASRAC) finalized their copyright complaints regarding Japanese media on YouTube. Thousands of media from popular Japanese artists (such as Tokyo Jihen and other music including Jpop) were removed.
When CBS and Universal Music Group signed agreements to provide content on YouTube, they announced a new technology to help them find and remove copyrighted material.
TV journalist Robert Tur filed the first lawsuit against the company in the summer of 2006, alleging copyright infringement for hosting a number of famous news clips without permission. The case has yet to be resolved.
On November 9, 2006, Artie Lange said that his lawyers were in talks with YouTube, after Lange learned that his entire DVD, It's the Whiskey Talking, was available for free on the website. He added that he will either demand money from them, or will sue.
Viacom and the British Broadcasting Corporation both demanded YouTube to take down more than 200,000 videos.
Viacom announced it was suing YouTube, and its owner Google, for more than $1 billion in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. Viacom claims that YouTube posted over 160,000 of their videos on the website without their permission.
In 2007 a 15-year-old Australian boy managed to get YouTube to delete over 200 YouTube videos belonging to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation using a fake DMCA take down notice. When the fake DMCA notice arrived, the ABC already had in place a long-standing deal with YouTube to freely share its videos. In his hand-written letter, the boy claimed that he was acting on behalf of the "Australian Broddcasting[sic] Corperation[sic]", giving his own Hotmail address as his business contact and demanded that hundreds of videos from ABC's The Chaser's War on Everything television program be deleted from YouTube's servers. Despite the boy not having any affiliation with the ABC and the spelling errors on his hand-written form, YouTube did delete all of the videos at the boy's request and replaced each with a message stating "This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by Australian Broadcasting Corporation".
Use of acoustic fingerprints
On October 12, 2006, YouTube announced that because of recent agreements with high-profile content creators, they are now required to use antipiracy software, which uses an audio-signature technology that can detect a low-quality copy of licensed video. YouTube would have to substitute an approved version of any clip or remove the material immediately. Industry analysts speculated that removal of content with such a system might reduce overall user satisfaction.
On April 16, 2007, Google's CEO Eric E. Schmidt presented a keynote speech at the NAB Convention in Las Vegas. During the Q&A session, Schmidt announced that YouTube was close to enacting a content filtering system to remove infringing content from the service. The new system, called "Claim Your Content", will automatically identify copyrighted material for removal.
Google spokesperson Ricardo Reyes stated on June 13, 2007 that the company was seeking "a way to make video identification technology a reality" when they began to test the system in the next few days.