Cramer on Colbert

August 10, 2007 § Leave a comment

This is worth watching. Sorry it’s not embedded.

YouTube and the Napster trajectory

May 1, 2007 § 1 Comment

TechCrunch today points to a Business Week article that indicates settlement talks are not underway between YouTube and Viacom and that the Google is going to fight this one out with their ninja trial team. Like Napster tried to do before them, YouTube will be banking on the DMCA in their defense.

It will be extremely interesting to see how closely YouTube will stick to the Napster trajectory. When Napster was sued by RIAA, RIAA asked the district court for an immediate court ordered injunction barring Napster from facilitating all peer-to-peer swapping of copyright protected material. RIAA argued that Napster was causing the record companies irreparable harm and waiting until the case went to trial would be too heavy of a burden for the companies to bear. The court agreed with RIAA and ordered Napster to block 100% of copyright material from their system. They were able to keep approximately 99% off their system using music “fingerprint” technology (now SnoCap) but weren’t able to maintain 100% compliance. Thus, they broke the terms of the court ordered injunction, were ordered to shut down completely to comply, and were never able to full argue the DMCA in court.

If YouTube follows this same trajectory, Viacom will argue that YouTube is causing them irreparable harm now and ask the court for an injunction. If the court grants the injunction sticks to the 100% threshold used in the Napster injunction, YouTube will then have to keep 100% of Viacom content (Comedy Central, MTV, etc.) off the YouTube system and if Viacom can spot one instance of their content on YouTube after the injunction is granted, the courts will order YouTube to be shut down to comply.

Granted, the 100% threshold in Napster was extremely harsh, and it is very likely that a court would see a far greater “legitimate use” in YouTube than they saw in Napster, but either way, there will be some very interesting drama down the road.

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