Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Dr. Evil sues the future!

Yes, at long last, the lawsuit you've been waiting for... Media giant Viacom (MTV, Comedy Central, Sponge Bob) sues Google/YouTube for One Billion Dollars!

So, what's going on here, besides the dinosaurs protecting their eggs?

1 - Many YouTube users upload copyrighted material that is owned by Viacom (and others).

2 - Many other YouTube users prefer to watch such clips on YouTube at their own leisure, rather than at the times dictated by TV and cable stations.

3 - YouTube uses "passive copyright enforcement," meaning that it is up to copyright owners to file complaints, rather than an active system of screening every upload for possible copyright violations.

4 - This happens on every video site, not just YouTube, but the other video sites have no assets of their own and are not owned by asset-rich Google.

5 - Viacom, being a dinosaur, is unable to adapt to the new media realities, and prefers to throw its massive weight around in a way designed to crush the new media.

6 - Viacom may make some headway in this battle, but ultimately it cannot win the larger fight for the future of how we choose to be entertained.

Bottom line: Viacom cannot un-invent broadband, file sharing, or the desire for creativity and freedom.

What can they do (if there weren't dinosaurs, that is)?

1 - Accept that the technology to capture and edit their content is not going to vanish just because they sued Google.

2 - Embrace the users using short clips (either unedited, or re-formatted into new derivative works) as their grassroots promotional team. Continue to request the removal of complete, unedited programs from YouTube where warranted.

3 - Negotiate in good faith with GooTube (and others) for a reasonable copyright and royalty solution for the future that recognizes that media creations cannot be controlled the way they have been in the past.

And, finally,

4 - Admit that they got the One Billion Dollars figure from Austin Powers and pay a royalty on it.

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