Viacom has a point - but we all know how it's going to end


The Viacom v YouTube row continues. Jeez, I wish I was a lawyer...
In an old-fashioned kind of way I actually believe that Viacom are entitled to have a go at YouTube. Media businesses are based on making content, distributing it and selling advertising off the back of it. Put aside any arguments about whether Viacom's content is any good or not, because that's irrelevant. The point is that they have invested millions of dollars making these programmes, and YouTube is using them to attract people - and therefore advertising revenues - to their site.

A popular argument goes like this: being on YouTube gives Viacom fantastic promotion for their programmes, so they should shut up and be grateful. Well maybe, but why should YouTube make all of the money from people watching Viacom programmes online, and - right or wrong - shouldn't it be Viacom's decision to make?

The answer, of course, is that if they can just work out a revenue share model then it'll suit both parties. In fact, if YouTube wants to have copyrighted content on the site then surely they should work out some standard revenue sharing models that keep everyone happy.

And isn't YouTube losing its focus anyway? The essence of YouTube has always been its user-generated content, from the fascinating to the downright wacky. By loading it with more commercial content it may get stuck in the middle when IPTV starts to take off.

Anyway, the lawyers will be telling their wives to cancel this year's vacation but get ready for an extra big one next year when this is all over - while behind the scenes they'll all be working out a deal to carry on with a bit of money changing hands.



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