Monday, October 09, 2006

The Google And YouTube Story May Be A MIstake!

Everybody's buzzing about Google and YouTube. Stocks went up on the news. Commentators are writing about why it makes so much sense. I'm not so sure.

Mark Cuban points out one big problem: Lawsuits. As if Google weren't being sued enough already (at the last Google Shareholder's meeting, someone asked what the company was being sued for, and head lawyer David Drummond responded, "How much time do you have?") Cuban, who founded the the Web's first popular audio broadcast site,, and sold it to Yahoo, knows what he's talking about.

What happens when thousands of people who create their own videos start suing Google/YouTube because others keep downloading their videos, which are automatically copyrighted as soon as they're posted? YouTube does downloads, not streams. Most pundits seem to think Google will have blocking technology to deal with that problem. I don't have that much faith in technology, especially when it's attacked by hackers.

Perhaps Google will switch to a streaming model. But unlike Cuban, I also worry strongly about the media companies suing. People are going to be creating mashups of videos, and will post pirated works. It's the direction of the Internet. When there's a copyright violation, who you gonna sue? The company with the deep pockets.

This whole concept of being a content site that lets people post their own stuff is great in theory (that's what blog sites are all about.) But man, you enter into a quagmire when anyone can post anything. Just because Internet companies are now trying to work with established media companies, it doesn't mean they will sit back quietly while their familiar business models disappear. The spirit of Napster still lives in the Internet.

It's going to be bad enough that Google Search will find pirated video all over the Internet. When the stuff is on its own site, the lawsuits will fly. I'm certain there are a lot of lawyers salivating over these trends like drunken sailors on the shores of Tahiti after five years at sea.

I also have a problem with google being in the video posting space for other reasons. It's something that strikes me, finally, as a move that violates Google's original mandate. Google used to avoid being a "media company," instead vowing to send people to other sites to find their content. I think Google may actually manage to keep sending people offsite if the best videos don't reside at home. but why set up the conflict of interest?

People don't seem to get it. Media sites are a great service. But monetizing them is a huge problem. Let/Yahoo be the media/portal. It can't compete with Google, so it may as well step into its own quagmire.

BUT im wrong

1 comment:

okpat said...

Can something like that be avoided if they add an agreement that states by uploading your video we take no responsibility blah blah blah? I just adore Google, and I hate it when others ruin things.

By the way.. great blog!