Robelinda2: the lamentable demise of a much-loved YouTube cricket channel | Cricket

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IIf you read an article about cricket on the internet, you have watched a Rob Moody video at some point in your life. It might have popped up, a YouTube link in a group chat or a series of replies. It could have been a compilation of Damien Martyn rides with the frame reversed to make him left-handed. A Steve Waugh collection is running out. An hour of West Indian swagger during a Test in 1988.

The title of the video would have been exclamatory, partially in caps lock, telling you that this segment was hilarious, or that this performance was a work of genius, or that the entire episode qualified for Rob’s highest compliment: “old gold” . Most of the time the title would be true. From a meticulous archive of every cricket match televised in Australia for forty years, an archive that started purely as a personal hobby, he edited and uploaded thousands of hours of footage online for the enjoyment of millions of people.

The channel was Robelinda2. Past tense intentionally. Now it’s gone, wiped out by YouTube after a frenzied few days of abruptly and coordinatedly receiving copyright complaints from fictional companies that barely seem to exist, just a paper-thin online persona.

The Robelinda2 YouTube channel has officially ended.

It was 14 years of fun! Thanks for looking!

– Rob Moody (@robelinda2) November 5, 2023

During a video call with The Final Word podcast, Moody looks tired. ‘I didn’t even know. I was driving in Albany, south-west Australia, to Fremantle, and I had no reception, and there were fires – I was literally driving through fire. It was 38 degrees Celsius and there was fire everywhere. I was getting all these notifications and I was like, what’s going on? I couldn’t reach my channel and I thought the internet was not working properly because it was two bars 3G. When we actually got to Fremantle I thought, oh… I think the transmitter is gone.”

This will give the public access to a piece of cricket history that neither the relevant boards nor the broadcasters have shown the interest or ability to make available. Cricket Australia is just catching up, launching a vintage channel two weeks ago whose name seems to borrow Cricket Gold from Moody, but it’s limited to Samsung devices for those who know where to look, rather than global availability and algorithmic boost from YouTube.

Robelinda2 also did not intend to put an hour of competition footage online. They were curated compilations, the bizarre and funny sides of cricket, the ephemera he would remember and extract from entire days. Moody didn’t edit the shot, shot, wicket highlights. He would set up a bowler’s entire over or a batsman’s entire innings, leaving the lead-in and the trail-off, the gaps between deliveries. He enjoyed the commentary as much as the cricket. His clips immerse you in something from decades ago.

Even players often had Robelinda2 as the only way to look back on their achievements. “Dean Jones contacted me literally two weeks before his death and asked about his two hundred against Pakistan in ’89,” says Moody. “As soon as he emailed me I was like, mate, give me five minutes. I have got you. Fastest upload I’ve ever done.”

Running an archive channel from recorded television comes with risks, and Moody has run into many copyright concerns before – even though organizations haven’t done anything with the footage, even though it adds to the game’s profile, even though Moody never used his channel for profit. It’s been a tightrope exercise. His channel was Robelinda2 because the original Robelinda closed down years ago, but he had since taken stock.

“When cricket boards come after the channel, it’s usually been pretty good. They usually identify what the problem is and what I want to do about it,” he says. “You can find almost anything you want from the 80s and 90s, but from the 2000s onwards they tend to hit everything hard… I uploaded a two-second video of an Ian Bell artist in January 2011 cover drive of the SCG, and it was blocked before the upload was completed.’

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If he cannot recover the channel, he will not spend the time on the third iteration. Instead, he tries to be philosophical. “I am fine with it. Fourteen years is a long innings,” he says. “It’s a miracle that after 14 years it’s never closed… It’s quite strange that it disappeared out of nowhere.” However, there is a hint of disbelief in his tone. Like a small version of death: you accept that it is inevitable, but it is always a surprise when it shows up.

The frustration, for Moody and for the thousands of people who have spread messages of compassion and support, is how arbitrarily a cultural institution can be brought down by something that is its opposite: in this case a joint venture called Marhaba Sports India, whose existence consists of five followers on Twitter, six on Instagram, and a largely abandoned website that looks like someone copied the back end of an early HTML shipping manifest software.

Complainants do not have to prove that they own the copyright. Most don’t. But the process of YouTube being struck for a copyright complaint is automated, and once the complaint is triggered, the only way the person filing the complaint can reverse it is by proving that he or she owns the copyright. The burden is one-way. All major tech companies hire minimal support staff, so when you look for help you end up in an endless series of FAQs, chatbots, and forums populated by other frustrated users trying to answer each other’s questions and wandering around like patients on the first aid to arrange triage. among each other. YouTube happily provides Moody’s with millions of views, but there’s no one to answer the phone when a problem needs solving.

In the meantime, he’s lost more than the rest of us. “It’s actually more disappointing that there are videos on there that didn’t mean anything to anyone, but meant more to me. I had mainly posted a lot of hidden videos, like videos of my kids when they were little, because YouTube is great for saving things. So I still have a thousand videos that no one has seen. Even the videos that I hadn’t published yet… I have the video with all the clips that David Boon had played in international cricket. Also in order.”

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