Ok, so by now you’ve seen the headlines that Viacom is suing Google for $1 Billion for violating the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act and no surprise here, I think GoogTube has a problem. Now I’ve never been accused of being a lawyer and I haven’t gone over the DMCA in depth, but here’s why I think this is a problem as someone that has negotiated quite a number of big business development deals over the years:
- It is Viacom’s property. They paid for it, they designed it, and they have the right to control it.
- If Viacom chooses to ignore the YouTube community, that’s their prerogative and no matter how much you scream “ohhhh they are ignoring the community….ohh this is so typical” it means nothing since they are the content owners.
- Since they are the content owners, they get to sell their product, right? That means airing it on TV and getting advertisers (you remember them), DVD sales, and of course they then get to syndicate it right? If GoogTube takes that ability away either by loading snips or airing just the good parts of a show, won’t that impact their ability to monetize their property?
- According to the WSJ article called Viacom versus Google Could Shape Digital Future, Viacom ordered Google to remove their content and as late as yesterday there was still content available on the site. GoogTube knows that they shouldn’t have the content there, but didn’t care to remove it when it was reposted.
- Google is looking to monetize the traffic from their $1.6 Billion investment in YouTube by selling advertising. So, if there is content available that shouldn’t be there, who says that Google should get the advertising revenue instead of what Viacom deems necessary. How can you pick sides when Viacom is being impacted?
Let’s stop there for a second regarding making money off the
advertising. There is an interesting
paragraph at the end of the article that says “YouTube…doesn’t display ads on
pages where consumers can actually view videos unless it has an agreement with
the content owner. But advertising does
appear on pages listing results users see when they search for videos on
Ok. That’s interesting. I wonder what would happen if Viacom borrowed some online advertising techniques from those ruthless internet advertisers of the gambling and porn industry and posted a 10 second video on YouTube and linked to their site to view more. Does this mean that since they don’t have a content deal with Google they could post what they want and order Google to pull down what they don’t want, all while sending valuable traffic to their own site where they can monetize the traffic?
Anyway, in the content deals that I’ve negotiated it usually goes like this:
- Content owner wants to get the highest bang for their buck
- Site owner wants to pay the cheapest amount so they can afford to spend on more content from other sources
- Site owner offers content owner a channel to their audience
- If content owner thinks the audience is valuable
for the price they are willing to receive, a deal gets done; otherwise the
content owner walks away or gets more money
Pretty simple. I’d rather see this get done at the negotiating table rather than the court room because it really is just about advertising revenue. One thing is certain, the DMCA needs to get rewritten.