YouTube has been the target of copyright infringement lawsuits since the pre-Google days. Let’s face it, any open forum or platform based on user-generated-content is going to have questionable material posted on it.
Viacom has a history of playing hardball. In February, Viacom asked YouTube to take off 100,000 or so of its clips, again but I guess they didn’t like the way that worked. So today, Viacom sued YouTube and its owner Google over copyright infringement. According to the complaint, Viacom has identified "150,000 unauthorized clips of their copyrighted programming that had been viewed an astounding 1.5 billion times." Wow, can you imagine how much revenue Viacom might have generated if this had been on their site. Of course, assuming that they had been able to attract the same number of eyeballs as YouTube, which is iffy.
I don’t condone stealing content but we are talking about 30sec short clips. I would think these would create a buzz about the show rather than take away from it. Talk about a classic case of ignorance and greed. Traditional media companies have no clue what creates demand for their shows nor can they figure how to make money off their own product. YouTube figured that out, so Viacom’s dumb response: Instead of negotiating a smart deal with YouTube, let’s kill that proverbial goose.
Viacom’s claim is that a large part of YouTube’s popularity and the $1.65billion price tag is “directly attributable to the availability of..”Viacom’s copyrighted work on YouTube.
Wow! Does anyone else think these guys are seriously deluded? Either that or they are hoping to get a huge financial settlement out of cash-rich Google. I think it’s a bit of both.
I guess the moral of the story here, is if you can’t win ’em over, sue ’em. As Mike Abundo notes, media companies are following a pattern of suing and then negotiating deals.
This cracked me up (from the official Viacom complaint), “Defendant’s conduct is causing…Plaintiffs great and irreparable injury that cannot fully be compensated or measured in money.”
Translate: But please be assured that won’t stop us from trying very very hard to squeeze whatever money we can from YT/Google. You gotta love these lawyers
For those who missed this – Earlier this year, YouTube announced a revenue- sharing plan for video creators.