Reports of the demise of iconic YouTube video may be exaggerated

Fourteen years ago Charlie bit his brother Harry’s finger and the whole world got to know about it. That’s because the boys’ father, Howard Davies-Carr, caught the hilarious incident on camera and posted it on YouTube, where it quickly went viral. Since then, the 55-second clip has been viewed an astonishing 885 million times.

The video, titled Charlie bit my finger, hit the headlines again at the weekend when it was auctioned for a whopping $760,000 as a non-fungible token (NFT), a kind of certificate that allows a person to take ownership of something digital.

The auction led to numerous reports claiming the popular video is about to be removed from YouTube, as stipulated in the terms of the auction.

But on Tuesday, May 25, dad Howard told the BBC that its removal is by no means a certainty, meaning the video could yet stick around to rack up another 885 million views over time.

“As part of the auction we said we would actually take the video down from YouTube,” Howard explained. “But we also said towards the end [of the auction] that the video didn’t 100% need to be taken down, it was going to be the decision of the owner. So that’s still being decided.”

But as Howard pointed out, even if the video’s new owner asks for the original clip to be removed from YouTube, numerous copies of the popular clip will remain on the video-sharing site for people to enjoy.

“There’s thousands of copies on the internet, so you can’t get rid of it, you can’t really delete things on the internet,” Howard said, adding that the point of NFTs is that the system allows you to prove exclusive ownership of a unique digital property, which besides a viral video could also be something like a meme or even a tweet.

So, whether the original video gets to remain on YouTube is in the hands of the new owner. We’ve embedded it at the top of this article so you can easily check its status.

As for the hefty payout heading to the Davies-Carr family, well, like all of the money generated by the video over the years, Howard said it’ll go toward the education of Charlie, Harry, and two other sons. Whoever would’ve thought that biting a finger would prove so lucrative.

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