More about the YouTube-Google deal at Denny’s

October 11, 2006

News:  It’s quite fitting for the unconventional, “outside the box” Google founder Larry Page to broach a billion dollar offer (in Google stock) at a local Denny’s.  Apparently, the group consisting of Page, Google CEO Eric Schmidt, and YouTube founders Steve Chen and Chad Hurley had orders of eggs and chicken strips.

Analysis:  I wonder who picked up the bill.

Related post:  Google-YouTube Deal struck at Denny’s

MySpace miffed by YouTube

October 11, 2006

News:  This may sound grade school-lish, but even in the business world petty fights may arise.  According to the Wall Street Journal, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., which owns the ever popular social networking site MySpace, apparently was miffed by YouTube’s failure to respond to News Corp.’s email request to allow it a chance to bid on the company before the deal had been closed with Google.  As a threat, MySpace has suggested it will stop its users from using YouTube videos on its site.  (More from searchenginewatchblog)

To smooth things over, Google CEO Eric Schmidt will meet this week with News Corp. executives, including Rupert Murdoch.  Google already has a $900 million deal with MySpace to place video advertising on MySpace. (More from Australia IT)

Yahoo tried to buy YouTube

October 11, 2006

News:  In Yahoo Feels Breath on Neck, Saul Hansell discusses how Yahoo tried to buy YouTube:  “Yahoo itself tried to buy YouTube just a few weeks ago and got as close as negotiating price and terms, according to an executive briefed on the discussions. But the talks broke down, and Google swooped in and closed the deal quickly, just as it has in several recent partnership negotiations.”

Analysis:  Hansell also notes that “Google has $11 billion in cash and a market value of $131 billion, while Yahoo has $4 billion in cash and is worth $34 billion.”  Given these figures, the metaphor in the title of the article seems wrong.  It should be something like, Yahoo Feels Dust in Face.

More debate on copyright issues for YouTube

October 11, 2006

News:  The Wall Street Journal asks, Does YouTube Make Google a Big Target for Copyright Suits?, with a back-and-forth email discussion between Jon Palfrey of the Berkman Center and Stan Liebowitz, an econ professor at UT.

At one point, Liebwowitz wrote:  “The fact that YouTube is generating revenues from these files may well nullify the safe harbor provisions of the DMCA mentioned by John. In the Napster case the judge told Napster that Napster needed to remove all works for which they did not have the rights and Napster used filtering software that was not perfectly effective (I personally think perfection is an unreasonable requirement). YouTube could similarly be required to police infringements.”

Palfrey later responded:  “Google should be able to avail itself of the DMCA’s broad safe harbor for copyright infringement under U.S. law. Whether or not Google makes money on the content is not, and should not be, the issue at stake here. The issue is whether or not Google takes its job seriously in responding to genuine demands to take down copyrighted materials from the YouTube service. To date, YouTube has been a model citizen in this regard: they’ve gone out of their way to license content from big content owners, they’ve been working on fingerprinting solutions to help content owners track their copyrighted materials, and they’ve sought to make it easy, expedited process for submitting a complaint about copyright violations. They’ve even made room for Diddy to have a channel, to which the artist has uploaded BadBoyRecords material to YouTube. Google needs to be accountable to copyright holders. If they are, they should be in the clear for the YouTube service. It’s about creating an accountable Internet.”

Analysis:  This is a very interesting discussion.  I think both Liebowitz and Palfrey are wrong in some key respects here.

First, I think Liebowitz is factually wrong in his assertion that YouTube is making money on infringing files.  YouTube doesn’t.  There are no revenues going to YouTube based on some third parties uploading an infringing file onto YouTube.  The only way YouTube appears to be making money is with advertising and negotiated deals with legitimate businesses. 

Second, I think Palfrey is wrong in suggesting that it doesn’t matter whether YouTube does or does not benefit financially from infringing files.  Under the DMCA safe harbor provision, the Internet service provider must NOT receive “a financial benefit directly attributable” to the infringing material, in order to be eligible for the safe harbor.  Incidentally, though, based on my first point, YouTube should be able to satisfy this requirement.

Related post

YouTube and the DMCA safe harbor from copyright lawsuits

How YouTube is transforming state campaigning

October 11, 2006

News: Philip Ewing of inoZine has an excellent article analyzing how candidates for political office are using YouTube to run their campaign clips. 

Related post

The political power of YouTube