Will Hollywood play nice with YouTube?

Scott Jagow Nov 3, 2006


SCOTT JAGOW: With so many people watching videos online now, YouTube could be a goldmine for Google. Or it could be a hornet’s nest of legal problems. Some of the videos clearly violate copyright laws. The Financial Times says Google’s frantically trying to make deals with the entertainment industry to prevent lawsuits. Reporter Aline Van Duyn says TV and film companies have an incentive to play along.

ALINE VAN DUYN: They want to make sure that they are distributing their content in this new medium and that if there’s revenue to be had from online video they want to be sure they get a share of it. So for them it’s a potentially very big distribution platform. And also they want to get paid for licensing their content.

JAGOW: I can’t imagine that these companies want to help Google become the dominant provider of video on the Web because they want to do it themselves?

VAN DUYN: Yes Google has always stressed that it doesn’t want to go into content business, so it says to the media companies that it wants to be their partner, that it wants to distribute their content and then give the media companies a share of the advertising revenues. That is attractive to the media companies but on the other hand, they don’t want Google to be the only distributor or the main distributor because they don’t want Google to hold all the cards.

JAGOW: What happens with YouTube if Google can’t make deals with these companies?

VAN DUYN: Well it’s already done deals with the biggest music companies, so it has a track record of doing deals and it has some limited deals with some of the media companies. But if it all goes wrong then all these companies could start to sue YouTube and the expectations is that that would probably put it out of business. Although a lot of the content on YouTube is generated by individuals, the most-watched content is actually professionally-produced content that people put up on the site

JAGOW: Aline Van Duyn’s a reporter with the Financial Times.

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