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
    |333173|3|_||3, 14 Mar 2007 @ 7:23am

    google has enough money to fight off the Book companies, win, adn claim for court costs. Hte belgian newspapers will keep going for years, round and round in circles, until either the EU runs out of money to pay for higher courts for one side or the other to appeal in.
    Viacom may win, but Google will probalby force them to settle for much less.

    If I were running YT's takedown section, i would make a PDF of a form which has to be printed, filled in maulally (DRM to prevent you typing, and use the DMCA in the USA to prevent you breaking it), and faxed to google. if everything OCRs correctly, you get sent a confirmation email, and when you send a reply to the correct address with the right info (from the form, so a script cannot reply), the file gets taken down. THis make sit such a pain to get a page removed that only those hwo think it worthwhile will do so.

    IRT 5: scorched earth is where you destroy everything behind you as you retreat, so that an advancing enemy army has to bring its supplies with it. A famous example of a highly successful application of a scorched earth strategy was when Wellington was retreating to Torres Vedras, forcing the french to transport supplies hundreds of miles accros hostile territory.

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