SOLIS at WSU

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Google Acquires YouTube

New York Times Story

Here's a blurb. Maybe I'm being conspiratorial, but it seems to me that Google is doing a lot of things to push copyright limits.

Of course, YouTube has also been compared to Napster, whose music-sharing service was eventually shuttered after a series of lawsuits. While YouTube has made some deals with content providers, including one yesterday with CBS, its users have uploaded millions of copyrighted clips, leading some to question whether Google is inheriting a legal minefield. YouTube has said it is different from the old Napster service because it removes content when a copyright holder complains.

“There are some issues with YouTube,” Sumner M. Redstone, chairman of Viacom, said last week on “The Charlie Rose Show.” “They use other people’s products,” he said, alluding to pirated video. “The only way they avoid litigation now is they stop doing it if you call them.”

Mark Cuban, who founded Broadcast.com, an early audio and video site that was bought by Yahoo, is even more skeptical of Google’s legal position, writing on his blog: “I still think Google lawyers will be a busy, busy bunch. I don’t think you can sue Google into oblivion, but as others have mentioned, if Google gets nailed one single time for copyright violation, there are going to be more shareholder lawsuits than Doan’s has pills to go with the pile-on copyright suits that follow.”

Yet the deal with Google was announced hours after YouTube disclosed deals with entertainment companies that appeared to reduce the risk that it would become mired in copyright disputes.

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