Is this the end of YouTube?

by Paul Michael on 14 March 2007 3 comments

YouTube

GoogleWatch , one of my fav blogs about one of my fav resources, reported today on the $1billion lawsuit served to Google by Viacom . And so did almost every other news network around. I found over 1400 stories on it...this one is big it seems. One of the main rumblings I heard about the YouTube boys selling to Google was fear of a huge lawsuit, which they didn't have the funds to fight, but Google does. Hmmm.

However, what I liked about the GoogleWatch story is the "18 reasons why Google & YouTube Are Guilty of Copyright Infringement." It gives a new perspective on it, and as someone who really loves YouTube (I've found a lot of great videos from my home country on there), it's an eye opener. You can read the complete article on GoogleWatch here , but here are the Top 5 infringements listed.

1: YouTube's value is largely based on infringing works.

2: Google maintains control over YouTube's business, and contributes to YouTube's infringement by syncing Google Video search with YouTube's library.

3: Although individual users are the ones to upload videos, YouTube copies the videos to its servers, indexes the metadata, and creates thumbnails. YouTube then publicly displays and performs the infringing works. The complaint: "Thus, the YouTube conduct that forms the basis of this Complaint is not simply providing storage space, conduits, or other facilities to users who create their own websites with infringing materials. To the contrary, YouTube itself commits the infringing duplication, public performance, and public display of Plaintiffs’ copyrighted works, and that infringement occurs on YouTube’s own website, which is operated and controlled by Defendants, not users."

* This is an important point, since Google has argued -- as any ISP or file storage provider would argue -- that they are not liable for illegal actions taken by users, as they are not aware of that activity until notified by a third party.

4: Embedded videos and e-mailing vidoes from YouTube constitute public performance, too.

5: The embedded videos that attract the most users are copyrighted works, and YouTube displays its brand over them.

I sincerely hope YouTube stays around, it's become a top 10 site that I visit. But I suspect this one is going the way of Napster. Power to the people, but only if it's all good and legal, right?

 

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Barbara W.

Hey, I read your blog, and you brought out some of the top reasons why Google might lose, but something you might not have seen in any of those articles is that Viacom recently invested in a website called Joost (www.joost.com) which is going to be TV on the net, whenever and whatever you want to watch. A website I troll frequently called Fark (www.fark.com) posted an article about this, and in the user forum, a lot of people were wondering why Viacom doesn't try to figure out how to work with YouTube and profit from this instead of suing them. I'd love to see you continue with follow-ups about this story. Thanks for the good reads!

Barbara

Greg Go's picture
Greg Go

There's an article in Valleywag that makes a very good point: Viacom owns iFilm, which is an older, less popular YouTube. There's copyrighted materials there too!

From Valleywag :

And why not, while Viacom's at it, sue other video sharing sites that offer copyrighted material, such as iFilm? Ah, awkward: that particular video hub is owned by -- you've guessed it -- a media conglomerate that just declared war on Youtube, Viacom itself.

What was that about throwing stones...?

Greg Go's picture
Greg Go

@Barbara W.

I think Viacom is using this lawsuit as a negotiation tactic for getting a better deal from Google. It's in the best interest of everyone involved (including us, the public) if the content owners (eg. Viacom) and the video sites (eg. GooTube, Revver, iFilm) shared in the revenue. Then we could continue to watch the Daily Show on YouTube and Viacom/Google can make some money from their content creation/delivery.

@Paul

I don't think GooTube is going away. Video is the next big thing on the web, and every video sharing site will have this problem. We've learned the Napster lessons -- give users an easy way to get music legally (iTunes) and the rampant piracy mostly goes away. I think the content creators will work it out with the content deliverers.