For all the talk of big media companies suing YouTube, none of them actually have. Obviously, some believe that now that Google's buying YouTube, there are a few billion more reasons to sue. Alternatively, some of these threatened lawsuits could be a case of sour grapes from companies that had hoped to buy YouTube themselves. However, another possibility is that this is just a negotiating tactic. Universal Music made the threat at the same time they were negotiating deals with YouTube, and now a statement from Time Warner CEO Dick Parsons about plans to sue YouTube (and Google) is getting plenty of attention. While it could very well happen, going public with it before any suit is filed is clearly just a negotiating tactic. These companies realize they probably need to do a deal with Google, and to try to push for better terms, why not threaten to sue? All this posturing (without actually filing lawsuits) suggests that these media companies aren't actually convinced they'd win a case. The suggestion that they've waited until someone with deep pockets owned YouTube doesn't make that much sense. The media companies didn't hesitate to go after the likes of Napster and Grokster -- who didn't have that much money. It could be that they realize they might not have a case... or perhaps, it's because they realize somewhere, deep in their brains, that YouTube has a lot of potential to help their business, more than hurt it.
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