by Mike Masnick

When Negotiating A Deal With YouTube, First Threaten To Sue Them...

from the apparently,-it-works dept

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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  1. identicon
    Ldom, Oct 13th, 2006 @ 5:12am

    Not counting the fact that you don't want to mess with Google. It could hurt a major media company that an angry Google decide to take out of the search all their movies, tv shows, CDs...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    ScytheNoire, Oct 13th, 2006 @ 5:28am

    might also have something to do with the fact that shutting down Napster has done nothing to change the state of things. in fact, it just made it easier for people to find what they wanted than it used to be, because better services popped up.

    the whole issue is about these large companies moving too slowly and failing to deliver what the consumers really want. they want to hold onto the old way of doing things, but times are changing fast, and they are simply unable to keep up. until they start hiring young brilliant people and putting them in charge and start giving the public what they are wanting, they will continue to fail.

    currently, i want to watch TV shows when i want to watch them, without any DRM, in good quality. currently, no networks can do that, but Torrents sure can. same with music, i want to be able to sort and organize my collection, use the player of my choice, and be able to archive it and move stuff around freely. no current scheme that has DRM allows that.

    basically, as long as these big companies keep clinging onto DRM, things are going to continue to fail. they have to get with the times and find a new way to make their money using the new delivery systems.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Rabid Wolverine, Oct 13th, 2006 @ 6:10am

    Sue, please call my lawyer, her name is sue!

    Sue this sue that, let's face it, were a sue happy county!

    Hey, somebody stepped on my toe, I'M GONNA SUE EM!!!!

    Hey, they came out with shoe lights, That was my idea back in the 80's, sue, sue, sue...

    Please call my lawyer, her name is sue...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 13th, 2006 @ 6:40am

    Of course its a tactic, but its a good one. Google knew what the risks were with YouTube, so I would imagine they knew that they would have to work with the content owners and give them a piece of the pie. If they don't give a big enough piece, they will either have to do without the content, or expect to have to go to court.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 13th, 2006 @ 6:41am


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    m3_1uk3, Oct 13th, 2006 @ 6:54am


    Perfectly stated!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Betaflame, Oct 13th, 2006 @ 7:16am


    while it would severly hurt the studios, it would also mean people know they can't use google to find everything. making google that much less usefull.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. icon
    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Oct 13th, 2006 @ 7:24am


    The industry likes centralised infringers. They will court them as long as they give off 'try harder' signals.

    They probably know that if they kill YouTube, it'll be Napster->file-sharing all over again.

    This time however, the p2p version of video sharing will be far better.

    YouTube is simply a TV station awaiting licensing negotiations - why would anyone want to shut it down?

    Things will only get nasty if Google digs its heels in and refuses licensing deals.

    They will also get nasty if content is so severely curtailed or corrupted (mis-ranked) that GnuTube or FreeTelly arise to provide hi resolution content courtesy of BitTorrent, etc.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    OperaFan, Oct 13th, 2006 @ 8:39am


    If you actually bother to read the comments made by Dick Parsons (CEO/Chairman TimeWarner) you'd see than he plans to "pursue copyright complaints" with YouTube, which does not necessarily mean litigation.

    Here's Parson quote from The Guardian:

    "Mr Parsons told the Guardian: 'You can assume we're in negotiations with YouTube and that those negotiations will be kicked up to the Google level in the hope that we can get to some acceptable position.'

    "'We were going to pursue it [copyright infringemnet] anyway,' he said. 'If you let one thing ignore your rights as an owner it makes it much more difficult to defend those rights when the next guy comes along.'

    "He took a more emollient stance than some when he said: 'We'd like to have our content displayed on these platforms, but on a basis that it respects our rights as the owner of that content.'"

    C'mon now, Parsons is CEO of a multi-national company, and is one of the most careful and well-spoken exucutives in the enteratinment industry. If his initial intent was to sue, he wouldn't mention it in the press until the suit was being filed.

    Parson's comments are here:

    Google faces copyright fight over YouTube

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. icon
    Mike (profile), Oct 13th, 2006 @ 11:39am


    If you actually bother to read the comments made by Dick Parsons (CEO/Chairman TimeWarner) you'd see than he plans to "pursue copyright complaints" with YouTube, which does not necessarily mean litigation.

    Pursue copyright complaints means "give us money or we sue." It's functionally equivalent. It's a threat to sue.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. icon
    SimonTek (profile), Oct 13th, 2006 @ 3:12pm

    Why sue YouTube. Do you realize how many videos are uploaded every day? Do you realize how hard it would be to watch every fricken video to make sure it passes? Honestly I kind of like how some older material shows up. I watched "You can't do that on Television" as a kid. I got to watch a bunch of episodes on youtube, where I wouldn't be able to anyways. I saw Ducktales 3 days ago, and I found out it came out on DVD, so I went out and bought it. There is a great aspect to youtube, Think of it as TV, you can watch something, go, oo this is good, and go buy it. But if your gonna sue someone, why not sue the people who uploaded it, Or the company that originally released the item god knows when time ago, for making it easy to upload. lol.

    I would love to put in laws that it was illegal to do silly lawsuits, and put in laws that weren't allowed to be vague, or full of loopholes. like the Do not call list, There is no way I would have let it be available for political parties to get allowed to call. Term Limits would be nice too. Do you realize Teddy Kennedy has been in office since his brother was president, new blood in office would do some good. Oh I plan to run next time I get a chance. I am tired of Corp America, running America, instead of for the people, by the people.

    If nothing else I can say I tried.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    OperaFan, Oct 15th, 2006 @ 11:43pm



    Not necessarily in the case of TimeWarner and Google/YouTube. Had you forgotten that last year Google paid $1 billion for a 5% share of AOL?

    I'd say "pursue copyright complaints" is functionally equivalent to "honor our copyrights, or let's revisit our existing contractual obligations".

    Truly, Richard Parsons well understands the overhead/brain drain of a prolonged lawsuit....

    I'm just sayin'

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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