Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Google Not Sued

Universal announced that it is suing video sharing sites Bolt.com and Grouper (which, remember, was recently bought by Sony) for copyright infringement. The announcement comes after Google's purchase of YouTube, which Universal threatened with a similar suit weeks ago. The threat may have been a bargaining strategy - YouTube signed a licensing deal with Universal shortly before being bought by Google - but it's not clear that YouTube is totally safe should Universal and others grow unhappy with how things turn out. There has been lots of discussion as to whether YouTube will cause legal trouble for Google, so that Google not being sued at this point must come as a relief to the company.

Copyright owners have a monopoly right over their content and can choose who they license it to, but if we are really in the beginning of the "video revolution" as Google CEO Eric Schmidt has claimed, does it makes sense for copyright holders to allow only YouTube to host videos while suing other competing sites out of existence? Such a strategy by Universal seems a bit too abusive, monopolistic, and shortsited by putting all of its eggs into YouTube's basket, decidedly so if YouTube tanks upon implementing whatever its ad strategy is going to be.
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