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Viacom and YouTube Square Off In The Biggest Battle Ever

 

By: Spacelab Research Staff
It's like Godzilla and Mothra, squaring off. On one side, you've got Google's YouTube, playing the videos, raising the profile of all the bands and TV shows involved while playing other people's media. On the other side, you've got Sumner Redstone and the Viacom part of his empire, as well as ownership of a lot of those videos. The cage match begins.

Viacom threw down a billion dollar copyright infringement lawsuit last week against YouTube, in what's sure to get the Digital Millenium Copyright Act thing at full boil as they decide how and when copyrighted media gets played and paid for on the web.

Viacom has also hooked up with new player Joost for online viewing of their media, a major bargaining chip to head into talks with YouTube. Joost will play host to an authorized rollout of shows from Comedy Central and MTV, among others. Viacom has a backup plan in Joost, so they can put a take it or leave it offer on the table with YouTube. Power.

One thing's for sure, a copyright storm's a brewin', and both Congress and the Supreme Court seem to not want to get involved until they have to.

Other questions that come to mind: what about all of the individual web sites and blogs that embedded YouTube videos in their site? Are they liable for copyright infringement or royalties, or is that YouTube's bad? Also, who's reponsible on the YouTube side, the uploader or YouTube? That sounds like the P2P thing all over again, when both the P2P peeps and the uploaders were both pursued by the copyright holders from the RIAA. Plus, now there's a legal precedent, or at least a practiced negotiation history to look back at in this time around.

Pile this on top of the recent web radio royalty rates thing, and we've got some serious defining of the DMCA to do. The YouTube / Viacom thing is just starting, and this sure to go on at least all summer if not longer. Let the copyright wars and turf battles begin.


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