Surprise: Time Warner is rattling copyright sabers (BoingBoing) over Google’s acquisition of YouTube. Let’s pull back and take a look at this, shall we? Time Warner not only owns a shitload of content that is now playing on YouTube, it also owns AOL, and with it the self-inflicted wounds which came from buying AOL, or rather, buying into the idea of AOL back when it had its mid-life crisis of confidence about its own ability to execute in that wooly digital world, that late 90s coke binge where it seemed everyone in California was poised to kick Time Warner’s collective ass. Thank God, it turned out to be wrong….for a few years, anyway.
But now, the problem is back, and it’s much more serious, at least, it’s serious if you’re committed to your old ways of doing business. And for those who are afraid of the future, its name is Google. Time Warner CEO Dick Parsons is in a tought spot – he knows that disparaging dismissals of the upstarts will no longer suffice. But damned if he won’t “fire a shot across the bow” in any case.
From the Guardian coverage:
Dick Parsons, the chairman and chief executive of Time Warner, fired a shot across the bows of Google, saying his group would pursue its copyright complaints against the video sharing site YouTube.com.
Be careful, Dick, for a shot across the bow may bring a broadside from the other side. And the gorgeous fact of it is this: The other side isn’t Google. It’s everyone who uses Google (and now, YouTube.) Huh. Worth a pause, a drink, and a think.
Update: Apparently more companies are rattling sabers. From the Journal:
…lawyers for the group of media companies, which includes News Corp., General Electric Co.’s NBC Universal and Viacom Inc., have concluded that YouTube could be liable to copyright penalties of $150,000 per unauthorized video, people familiar the matter say. Viacom believes that pirated versions of video clips from its cable channels — including MTV, Comedy Central and Nickelodeon — are watched 80,000 times a day via YouTube. At that rate, potential penalties could run into the billions of dollars.