Viacom to Google: Enough already

Here’s how it works.

Google’s YouTube provides a service that lets people upload videos to their site for free hosting and download. YouTube has a warning on the home page that basically says “don’t post other people’s copyrighted material,” but, of course, people do.

Google is of the opinion that as long as it removes copyrighted material promptly when specifically asked, it’s in the clear.  However, they had promised media owners that they were going to install a content monintoring service earlier this year to deal with the problem of pirated videos. They didn’t.

Viacom says there are pver 100,000 clips on YouTube service that belong to them and these clips have generated 1.2 billion video streams. Meanwhile, Google collects the revenue from these views and does not share it with Viacom.

Viacom says “take them all off now and keep them off.”

I’ve got an opinion about this one, but what do you think?

P.S. I’ve taken the best of the original “how to” System Video Blog articles and put them into a convenient report format.

Free to System Video Blog readers and their friends.

P.P.S. System 2007 is April 27 – 29 in Chicago. I haven’t started advertising yet and we’re more than half sold out. One of these days I’m going to get around to actually running a few promotions and I’m pretty sure we’ll sell the remaining seats pretty fast.

There’s an early bird offer in play – for now. Here it is:

– Ken McCarthy

P.S. For over 25 years I’ve been sharing the simple but powerful things that matter in business with my clients.

If you’d like direction for your business that will work today, tomorrow and twenty years from now, visit us at the System Club.

The experience economy
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15 Responses to Viacom to Google: Enough already

  1. eileen kleinman February 3, 2007 at 11:20 am #

    What if they can’t? or don’t?
    Lawsuit? Eventually google may have to share some of the pot…
    This would probably bring a wave lawsuits in its wake.
    I guess it needed a top gun corporate to start it all. The little ones can save on lawyer fees and see how goes for the big shot….

  2. Michael Holdcroft February 3, 2007 at 11:41 am #

    I think that Viacom is missing the point. If 100.000 people think that Viacom’s videos are worth putting on YouTube, then Viacom is not only getting the recommendation from the people who uploaded but also massive free exposure to markets they would not have reached otherwise. Very short sighted.

  3. Lance February 3, 2007 at 12:15 pm #

    Michael,I agree with your comment.
    Getting a bunch of blue-haired, bean counters to stop looking at the past and toward the future will not be an easy task – even for Google.

  4. Pam Dodd February 3, 2007 at 12:54 pm #

    I can see what Michael and Lance say, but as a book author (#1 time management book on Amazon), I myself am leary of Google’s forays into providing copyrighted material for free. There must be some happy medium where everyone benefits, at least a little.
    I’d like to hear from others who are video/book owners on this. It’s easy to have opinions when your pocketbook isn’t impacted directly.

  5. Todd February 3, 2007 at 1:31 pm #

    It is okay for you to say Viacom should “stop looking toward the past and start looking toward the future” when it is not your material.
    Sure we’d all like to have that kind of exposure, but at what cost.
    -Is it okay for me to buy YOUR eBook and then repost it in full or part for all to see? Hey why not even resell it without compensating you? It sounds more ominouse when we are talking about YOUR or MY bank accounts than when THOSE greedy corporations are suffering?
    -What if I post all of the Internet Marketing videos that I have bought for anyone to download, or I file share all of the tools I’ve bought. But, heck they’ve made their money so why not share now.
    -Ask any manufacturer that has had a Chinese front company knock off their product and steel the market from them.
    Patent, Copyright and Trademark protections are set up for a reason. Someone, even little guys like me, spend a lot of time and money creating products or intellectual property and they should be compensated for it at whatever value the marketplace puts on it.

  6. DAVID DICKES February 3, 2007 at 2:07 pm #

    Well put Todd, I’m sure Viacom is aware of the expoure and it’s monetary value to them–but not FREE. Why should the “poor” folks at Google earn money from “copywrited material” when they don’t offer free ads on Google?

  7. Martin Wales February 3, 2007 at 4:42 pm #

    Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury…
    What if you only thought of “CONTENT as a commodity” only?
    The only place to go with commodity pricing(i.e. content) is DOWN as competition increases.
    If you business is based solely on a book,
    then God help you at $9.95 to $19.95 a pop.
    Why put yourself in the risky, “I have to discount but can make it up in volume” world.
    This sure makes me more committed to having a ‘real’ bigger back end product or service.
    Possibilities include:
    1) Custom-tailored solutions, e.g. family geneology, portraits, business consulting, personalized love letters, etc. etc.
    2) Live Seminar Events (Don’t miss “The System” 😉
    3) High-value, to your door products.
    4) Audits and evaluations
    5) Integrated Distribution (offline + online)
    6) Diversification of your business portfolio
    7) Media Production – always new current fresh material, that’s timely and of less value within a few weeks
    Yes, information products (esp. Entertainment only) can be ripped off and redistributed. I propose however, that the highest value customers don’t JUST want information.
    I can pay Apple 99 cents to see last night’s show but I might also pay them $1,000 to have dinner at a banquet with the cast, or the writers, or join a fan club with monthly memberships.
    I’ve paid $69 per DVD set for all the past “M*A*S*H” sitcom shows. Why? Cause it was convenient and high quality. Even though, I probably could have tracked down some bootleg version somewhere, somehow, sometime…
    Today it’s about being a FILTER and saving me time while delivering quality/expertise.
    Yes, on one hand God Bless the viral marketing aspects of theft and piracy and on the other the poor souls who fall victim to such a narrow rut, i.e. Viacom and the one-book authors, and mind set.
    Maybe using that “boring, old” marketing funnel that let’s you end up with a FEW, highly loyal, high-paying customers, isn’t so passe after all?

  8. Mr. Chuck February 3, 2007 at 4:50 pm #

    I suppose nobody has noted the run times of video’s? 3-4 minutes. Sure, that a perfect lengh for hyjacking music video’s, but I don’t think that’s the problem. Who doesn’t want 3 minute video clips of their 30-60 minute TV shows on you tube? Too bad. You sad.

  9. tommylee February 3, 2007 at 7:24 pm #

    Ladies and Gentlemen,
    Wake up and smell the coffee, or tea whichever part of the world you are from. Because this is what this is all about, …globalization. Protecting your rights is fine with me, but you are in a loosing battle. You can twist and turn it as much as you want, but you are still the looser (if not by paying your lawyer exorbitant fees than most certainly growing bald over it). Not because you are small minded, sorry small, and Viacom is big, but because even Viacom will loose this battle also. Maybe on the short term not but the US of A is not an Emperium anymore that can dictate to the rest of the world on how it will deal with copyrights. Basta!!!
    Copyrights is something of the past and will be replaced by something that is as simple as some of you have already indicated but failed to use the right terminology for…. THE RIGHT CONTENT DELIVERED JUST AT THE RIGHT TIME.
    If you wish to use the internet, be prepared to live in it as well. Instanteneous Information sharing comes at a price and that price is copyrights (amongst others)!!!!
    The moment you publish something, be it a video, be it an e-book, be it music, you’ll get your 15 min. of fame according to Norman Rockwell, but that is all you are going to get as almost 7 billion people are waiting in line. Someone mentioned the bean counters at Viacom, well they should be very happy that they did not have to spend 1.5 million dollars on a 30 sec. Super Bowl spot while many more millions of people see the “message” via youtube or any other video medium tomorrow morning.
    Stop whining, start capitalizing on the free publicity!!!! No one is going to put Sissy Spacack’s “Cole Miners Daughter” in its entirety on YouTube.

  10. Jonathan February 3, 2007 at 8:51 pm #

    Google has a simple solution staring at them right now.
    Buy Viacom.
    But maybe their tactic is to wait until Viacom’s value has been dramatically reduced by mass copyright theft (video downloads) and then buy them.

  11. Mark Young February 3, 2007 at 9:33 pm #

    I agree it is very short sighted on Viacom’s part. The company is run by a 20th Century guy Sumner Redstone,80 something.
    Does he not realize the new buzz in the 21st Century is cooperation not competition. Why not joint venture with Google and be the first of the media companies to do so!
    They should think long term not just short term. That is liken to NFL owners saying let’s not broadcast our games on TV because no one will come to the stadium.
    Or another analogy is when Hollywood was scared of the rental video market. Now they cannot survive without it.

  12. Ara Rubyan February 4, 2007 at 2:25 am #

    I like the suggestion that Google buy Viacom and/or wait until Redstone is dead.
    Bottom line: this is more about Viacom negotiating a (better) deal with Google than it is about protecting the copyrighted material.
    C’mon: 100 thousand infringing videos? NO WAY the Viacom lawyers know what’s on those videos. More likely they did a quick search and cast a VERY wide net. They marking as much territory as they can right now. The ROI for Viacom will be very good — Viacom knows a deep pocket when it sees one.
    In short, what they’re really saying is…
    “Where’s my cut?”

  13. Rodney Rumord February 6, 2007 at 10:40 am #

    The legal issues will be resolved somehow between the parties. The real issue here is that information (Video in this case) wants to be set free. Someone will set it free (Google & Youtube in this case).
    The smart thing to do is to find a way to partner with those large distribution points and leverage them for win/win positioning.
    Itunes has done a good job of this with audio and is making good inroads with movie and tv video and people are more than happy to pay for this content. The Viacoms of the world need a fresh perspective on this model and find a new way to monetize their content.
    Also, creating “channels of user aggregated video content” is where we are moving to next in the world of online video. We have been building a solution ( ) that addresses this issue for some time and will launch the service in the very near future. Allowing these channels to have legs and live anywhere online (not just 1 site) is where the online video experience is going.
    The real issue is that the old revenue model for broadcast TV is changing very rapidly and the online upsurge in video consumption is simply the public culmination of a trend that has been happenning for years.
    Rodney Rumford

  14. Sari February 6, 2007 at 12:44 pm #

    There seems to be an assumption in the preceding posts, albeit a false one, that paying for something denigrates its value…As an artist, I know that the act of paying for one of my paintings, creates intrinsic value that did not exist before the act of paying occurs…Say someone offers you something for free, you refuse, insisting on paying a smalll amount for it, you now own something that is worth something more than if it had been free…that small amount of payment over time can turn your small investment into millions…(well, at least in the art world it can happen)…The act of paying also turns an item into a marketable commodity…by assigning a price, any price, that content can enter the marketplace…Also, when you have paid for something, you will take care of it…that painting will get framed, hung on a wall, cleaned, dusted, complimented, shown off…The painting I gave you for free may end up in the basement, the garage, given away again or devalued by insults…When the artist gives no value to her own work, why should the consumer…if content is being given away for free, one has to wonder why? The very same content given for free, or sold for a small amount, will be experienced in very different ways…I encourage culture warriors to charge money for their content, if only to remind the consumer of the value of intellectual property…remember, you get what you pay for…

  15. Marc Lawson February 6, 2007 at 2:18 pm #

    The answer really is to work with free video sites, the powers to be should embrace it by releasing free 3 min clips of shows (for example) with a link for people to get the full show DL to the hard drive or purchase thru the mail. Win / win for all!!
    Just like listening to a 30 sec sound clip to see if you would like it. The other way is to have Goggle video or You Tube run a secound site for paid content where you can pay per view or better a flat rate for unlimited viewing per month or year. Just like the internet music service models that are legal and work great!