Big Media Vs. A Big Media Wannabe Vs. The Little Guy With Too Much Time On His Hands

Big media -- make that big media content owners -- wants to be even more powerful. But others want a piece of that clout.

In somewhat of a surprise, a federal judge dismissed Viacom's billion-dollar lawsuit against YouTube. Viacom is appealing.

The judge said YouTube acted responsibility in response to Viacom-owned Comedy Central shows, "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" and "The Colbert Report," posted on the site by users.

The judge noted that, according to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, YouTube took those videos off its site in an appropriate amount of time after Viacom informed it the videos were copyrighted.

All this would seem like a big win for the little guy -- except YouTube really isn't the little guy. YouTube is part of a very big, powerful and growing media company: Google.



Months ago, Viacom got a hold of a number of YouTube emails, basically fingering YouTube executives who seemed to know they had some problems with copyrighted material, and didn't do anything about it. At that point, YouTube hadn't been bought  by Google, but was growing dramatically. In one email Chad Hurley, a YouTube co-founder, said: "Let's remove stuff like movies/tv shows. Let's keep short news clips for now.  We can become stricter over time, just not overnight."

And this from another YouTube founder, Steve Chen: "We need to start being diligent about rejecting copyrighted/inappropriate content... These guys are the ones that will buy us for big money, so lets [sic] make them happy."

Hmmm.... Then on Wednesday we got this public statement from a Google general counsel: "This is an important victory not just for us, but also for the billions of people around the world who use the Web to communicate and share experiences with each other."

All that is nice and warm, for sure. But users sharing "experiences" that come from lifting entire TV episodes or parts of episodes doesn't seem terribly pressing.

Have I missed the placards from the YouTube supporters in Hollywood or in Times Square, demonstrating for the ability to take TV network shows and do what they want with them? Are we holding back the creativity of the U.S consumer in this ever-expanding media world -- or just holding back potential Internet billionaires?

1 comment about "Big Media Vs. A Big Media Wannabe Vs. The Little Guy With Too Much Time On His Hands".
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  1. Kevin Mirek, June 24, 2010 at 12:33 p.m.

    Viacom is completely within its rights to withhold premission to air any part of its product on You Tube. What makes You Tube think its okay to take what they want and present it without agreement or compensation. There's a word for this ... stealing.

    As TV stations continue to look for means to restore their bottom lines, and networks seek to maintain profitability, perhaps they should begin a new revenue stream, litigation against anyone who takes their product without paying for it.

    The new media wants content on demand and for free. People in hell want ice water too. As long as the idiot TV industry continues to supply Hulu, You Tube, etc. for free, they deserve to go belly up. Stupidity causes that.

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