Internet, Video

Video Sharing Geopolitics

Marc Cuban has a series of posts on YouTube and the DMCA safe harbor provisions that are worth a read, here and here.

Cuban in the first post essentially argues that to comply with the DMCA you have to be “the master of your domain” and compares YouTube with Revver:

Youtube lawyers are saying that as long as their users are ignoring copyright law, its not Youtube’s fault. Youtube lawyers do not feel that Youtube is the master of their own domain. But thats ok because the DMCA laws say that if you give up control of your own domain, you dont have to worry about copyright laws.

Revver on the other hand has chosen to be a master of its own domain. It will post no video it doesnt approve. It is a master of its own domain.

Cuban goes on to argue that the Revver approach is the only that that clearly complies with the safe harbor provisions of the DMCA, and that YouTube (and presumably others who follow YouTube’s lead) may not be able to avail themselves of the Safe Harbor provisions of the DMCA in the slew of lawsuits that will invariably be filed.

I have no idea if this is right, or not. The lawyers and the courts will be the ultimate arbiters. What I think is more interesting is to discern the interests of the major rights holders, and whether they are likely to gang up on YouTube and others like them as they did Napster. And I think this is much murkier than people assume.

Mainly because some of the biggest media companies are now in the game, chasing after YouTube with vigor. MySpace, a crown jewel now in the NewsCorp empire, is the most prominent of these. Go on to MySpace and search for non-Fox-owned mainstream video programming, and you’ll find it aplenty. Viacom, which now owns iFilm, is also in the game now with the new beta version of iFilm (where you can also find non-Viacom-owned media).

With Google now in possession of YouTube, and NewsCorp and Viacom fully in the video hosting game (with plenty of potentially “illegal” content on both sites), the landscape is more complex. It will be interesting and fun to see whether Disney or TimeWarner — just to pick two mega-media conglomerates — go after these three.


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