Viacom Chooses The Nuclear Option For YouTube

from the dr-evil-setting-the-demands dept

Last month, after failed negotiations, Viacom ordered YouTube to remove more than 100,000 clips containing Viacom content from its site, and said it would launch its own video site with a bunch of copycat features (usability not being one of them). Apparently Viacom's figured out that paying for all that bandwidth might get expensive, as it's now sued YouTube and Google for $1 billion, and it's seeking an injunction against the site. Viacom contends YouTube's business model is "illegal" and that it's intentionally infringed the company's copyright, saying that more than 160,000 unauthorized clips have been available on YouTube, and viewed more than 1.5 billion times. The suit illustrates Viacom's misunderstanding of the web and YouTube: its claim for $1 billion essentially says that's the amount of money it thinks it's missed out on because of YouTube (just to put it in perspective, Viacom's 2006 revenues were $11.5 billion). That's pretty ridiculous, and should Viacom's own video site ever become popular enough to deliver similar viewer stats, the revenues it generates will underline that. What's more likely to damage Viacom's business is removing the clips from YouTube, since it offers a free promotional outlet -- something other broadcasters have noticed -- that may not directly generate revenue for the company, but indirectly drives viewers to its revenue-generating products. Update: Over at NewTeeVee, Liz Gannes takes a look at the numbers, while on IP Democracy, Cynthia Brumfield has examined the suit and calls it "fluffy", noting it never even cites the DMCA, which one would imagine would be particularly relevant here.

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  1. identicon
    Overcast, 13 Mar 2007 @ 10:58am

    Viacom has every right to have their content pulled. Its their decision. Would it cost Youtube money to make sure Viacom's content isn't posted? Of course, should that matter to Viacom? No.

    True - but.. Viacom should do the leg work to prove what is theirs and what's not theirs, if it's such an issue for them and then point the finger.

    Google shouldn't be required to police it all and make a determination. It's not expected for a library to monitor their photocopier for illegal activity, nor is it the job of Wal-Mart to be sure none of it's cooking knives being sold aren't going to be used in the commission of a criminal act.

    YouTube is more or less just a public 'market' of videos. Does a flea market's management have to make 100% sure that every pair of socks being sold at the flea market isn't a name brand fraud made in some third world country? No... that falls on the person selling the actual sock.

    These big media companies are the biggest babies, crying and whining like 3 year olds who have been deprived of their ice cream.

    Comedy Central should be happy there's even an interest in some of their shows. So much of it's worn and beaten. Truth be told, I still won't watch Saturday night Live, it's not the same as it used to be. And no.... I'm not going to buy the DVD's - content on YouTube or not. Hell, the only reason they even came to mind was seeing some of the clips on YouTube, otherwise - in my mind, they are long past their hayday.

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