I was wondering about this …
Before the whole Google-YouTube merger, the conventional wisdom had been replete with stories about how YouTube was, in effect, a poison pill. That the minute anyone with any jack in their jeans bought it, they would also buy themselves a buttload of lawsuits, from all the aggrieved content providers/actors/producers/studios/networks pissed that their products were being pirated.
Now we know why Grouper and Bolt.com were sued this week, while YouTube escaped unharmed. On the morning of the YouTube-Google acquisition, a collection of deals with record labels were announced –
as it turns out, the events weren’t totally separate. Universal Music
Group, Warner Music Group and Sony BMG each received a small stake in
YouTube, and collectively stand to make up to $50 million from the
sudden jump in the company’s value.
Ahhhh … now it makes sense. The labels get a stake in something (i.e. money for nothing) and also get the chance to reverse the mistakes they made with Napster… the frontal assault just led to Audiogalaxy, which led to WinMX, which begat Grokster, LimeWire, BitTorrent, etc. etc. I respect the attempt to do something different, to not repeat past mistakes. But I still don’t see how the aggressively, angrily “I want everything for free” ethos of the userbase of YouTube is going to react to what will soon be a compromised experience. The lawsuits against the competition may reveal the strategy, though – sue the shit out of the competition and make sure that all the little kiddies have to play in the Yoogle sandbox…
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