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
    Paul, 13 Mar 2007 @ 9:03am

    Re: a

    You can't sue them for more money because they're breaking the law. You aren't allowed to get reimbursed for finding somebody breaking the law. You can only sue for damages and related items like that.

    Beyond that, those tools that Google offers may cost an extra amount of money or effort that causes they're system to become less efficient. They may not be able to afford to run it continuously, hence only offering it when licensing and negotiating which probably allows them to cover the cost.

    Also, they probably need to tailor the tools to those copyright holders. That could be a cost in itself as well. Then if they offered it for free to Viacom, everybody else who has any copyrighted material will sue if they find their stuff up on the web, no matter how small they are.

    Its not an effective approach and I hope the court will see these points. Its not a matter that they could stop it, but didn't. So, just like you said, they could stop piracy, but only if you work with them. That last part stipulation may actually be a requirement that Google couldn't get rid of even if they wanted to.

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