Mark Cuban attacks YouTube, predicts its demise

News:  Tech billionaire (and owner of the Dallas Mavericks) Mark Cuban has written on his blog today what sounds like a polemic against YouTube.  Cuban sees YouTube’s popularity as palming off a bunch of copyright infringement of music and videos.  Not one to mince words, Cuban basically predicted the demise of YouTube once copyright holders start enforcing their copyrights.

Analysis:  Cuban made his post before realizing that Warner Music had just announced its big deal with YouTube.  He even had to update it later on to acknowledge the deal, but only begrudgingly.  Cuban then dismisses the deal as insignificant:

“Does this make a difference in my thinking ? Not at all. In fact its reminds me of when Bertelsman cut a deal with Napster. It sure sounded nice, but didnt amount to much of anything. Kudos to WMG for giving them a chance and probably leveraging the hell out of Youtubes traffic, but this is just one copyright owner out of the thousands, if not tens of thousands owning copyrights that are most likely being illegally used on Youtube.”

I think Cuban is wrong.  YouTube is not Napster because Napster wasn’t about video clips.  The big difference with YouTube is that the movie and TV studios can potentially profit immensely from the viral advertising of snippets of their copyrighted works.  The short clips on YouTube typically don’t substitute for the actual works. And when you have the attention of millions of Internet users each day, for an average of 15 odd minutes, you have a bonanza for advertising.  That’s why major networks like NBC have agreed to license content on YouTube. 

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2 Responses to Mark Cuban attacks YouTube, predicts its demise

  1. Jim says:

    I had an account on YouTube that had over 1.5 million views in the last 4 months alone. I spent time on producing every video. However, since I don’t have means of a major studio like, say Sony, I had to use clips where ever I got them. I never put an TV show, movie, music song or other clip in its entirety in one of my videos. If I knew where the clip was from I gave credit for it on the video or in the description. Then last week my account was canceled. My use of a 30 sec clip of something, I believe in no way harms a copyright owner. In fact it is free publicity for the full piece of work. Everyone is forgetting about the “Fair Use” section of the Copyright law. I believe that a majority of the small video clips that all the major copyright holders are complaining about fall under the “Fair Use” provision. Now YouTube new software based screening process, which I have tested screens out 50% of videos, even one created completely by the person who is submitting them, is going to result in a drastic reduction of users and viewers. And this will occur very quickly. I think it is about time the video creators, and I’m sure they are in the millions, organize and sue all the major media companies so the Supreme Court can review the definition of “Fair Use” in the social video networking socility we are now in.

  2. Jon says:

    I think it is sad how people give up their 5th amendment right the way Jim has in response to this email. I suppose everyone is entitled to their opinion, beliefs, but that doesn’t make them right. Case in point, you are free to believe that using a video clip, regardless of citing the copyright holder, and redistributing to other viewers is fair use, which it is not. Fair use is easy, you can backup your video/audio media for backups purposes, to use a working backup as playable media to preserve the originals, or other types of duplication. Duplicating copyrighted material to youtube for massive redistribution is not fair to the copyright holder no matter how far you pull the wool over your eyes. Consider audio samples in music, which have to pay royalties to the original copyright holder. Video clips are the visual analogue to audio samples, and are subject to the same rules. There are some protections afforded to American citizens in terms of reenacting the copyrighted work for satire, and parody. I also believe there are certain rights in terms of being able to show a still image or small video clip to promote or review the art from whence the video came. You cannot just take a video clip because you want to believe you are not violating copyright simply because you cannot produce your own video stock clips. That is absurd, but the notion seems rampant that stealing is some necessary thing for the absence of any creativity.

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