Is there even a short-term gain for Viacom here?

Much has been said about the fact that Viacom are suing Google for $1bn because YouTube (now owned by Google) hosted Viacom copyrighted shows.

Technically, Viacom are well within their rights to sue Google for this copyright infringement but what good does it do Viacom, apart from adding up to $1bn to their bottom line, if they win?

They will have lost massive goodwill and a ton of free PR! How much traffic was YouTube sending to Viacom and how much free publicity were Viacom shows receiving by being featured on YouTube?

Robert Scoble, speaking on this topic the other day said:

PodTech tried that strategy. To watch my videos you used to have to go to PodTech. Then in January we let go a little bit of our controlling attitude and made a player that you can embed on your own site. What happened?

Traffic tripled.

Traffic tripled.

PodTech, by allowing people to place in their blogs PodTech’s copyrighted videos, tripled their audience.

Viacom on the other hand have forced YouTube to take down Viacom’s copyrighted videos and are suing YouTube.

Is there even a short-term gain for Viacom here?

5 thoughts on “Is there even a short-term gain for Viacom here?”

  1. Viacom should allow people to upload their stuff to YouTube.

    I don’t watch anything longer than 5 minutes on YouTube. The video is crappy, the sound low-quality and the experience is poor. Even if every episode of Studio 60 was up on YouTube I’d still buy the DVDs rather than watch it on YouTube.

    Does Viacom make its money from proper shows or 5 minute clips? The 5 minutes clips get me interested in a show and then I go out and buy the DVD.

  2. You can get the same clips from Viacom’s own sites, the same with NBC and Studio 60 or any of the other broadcast networks.

    It’s not like the content isn’t available it’s that there’s this sense of false entitlement that anyone should be able to rebroadcast anything whenever they feel like it.

    The internet can drive interest they say. Snakes On a Plane being such a massive failure proved that to be chronically untrue.

  3. Viacom has a building chock-full of legal beagles who spend their entire careers sorting out rights issues. They’re the ones to benefit the most by calculating the amount they want out of the deep pockets of Google.

    To a copyright attorney, audience reach does not matter.

  4. Honestly,
    To sue youtube/google from showing your videos is a sure fire way to have youtube spammed with Viacom videos.

    When Battlestar Galactica released the webepisodes in between seasons 2 and 3, they went straight up onto youtube. It’s sheer convienence, you don’t need to go anywhere else. They used to be taken down within 30 min, but all that did was make even more users post them up for the general public. These are the same people that break episodes of Lost and heroes into 4 parts and post them up at about 9 minutes or so each.

    If Viacom are successful, I’d be interested to see how youtube will fare when everyone else jumps onto the bandwagon.

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