Friday, February 02, 2007

Viacom: Hey YouTube, Take Down Those 100,000 Videos of Ours You're Using!

The folks at YouTube may be quite busy if Viacom Inc. is serious about ordering the video-sharing site to remove all Viacom content. Viacom estimates that approximately 100,000 clips from its programs are on YouTube, and the most-viewed clips are snippets from Jon Stewart's hip and happening Comedy Central program "The Daily Show". YouTube contains video content of all kinds that his uploaded by its users, from homemade band demos to TV show exerpts and commercials, and mash-ups of songs accompanying film clips.

Media watchers have speculated that Viacom's order is just a negotiating tactic to help further a deal with YouTube regarding payment for video content. Viacom wants to be paid for including the media giant's content on YouTube. The Wall Street Journal reports that while Viacom had previously allowed short clips to be included on YouTube. But it had asked YouTube to take down full episodes of TV shows that appeared on the video site.

Viacom and YouTube had been trying for months to reach a distribution agreement but talks had failed. The Journal reported that "Viacom executives said privately they had determined that the marketing boost they once believed YouTube provided them has proved to be a mirage."

YouTube's CEO refuted this, however, noting in an interview with the Journal that other media companies such as NBS and CBS had reached partnership agreements with YouTube.

"Viacom claims that the roughly 100,000 clips it ordered removed accounted for 1.2 billion video streams," the Journal said. "Viacom also has provided YouTube with a list of all of its programs and ordered the Web concern to keep Viacom content off the site in the future."

When Google bought YouTube last year a big question mark was what the popular site would do about its huge catalog of work that violated copyright laws in some form or another.

This may be a battle between old media and new media, or just a negotiating ploy. We'll all have to see what the next move is, and that will probably come from somebody's legal team.

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