Maybe Mark Cuban is wrong. Maybe YouTube can actually work things out with all the major copyright holders of the content that’s spread all across YouTube’s site. According to this announcement, UMG, BMG and CBS have all signed on to be partners with YouTube.
What a difference this is from the Napster days when the RIAA and all the major labels did everything they could to squeeze the life out of anything that smelled like unauthorized distribution. Kudos to the video industry for realizing that YouTube has significant momentum and there are real benefits to partnering rather than trying to crush them.
I wonder how much of an impact these deals will have on the look and feel of YouTube in the future. Here’s an interesting tidbit from the article noted above:
It also includes technology that will allow CBS to find unauthorized CBS content on YouTube and remove it, or choose to keep the content up and stream advertising next to it.
If this technology actually works, you’d think YouTube would allow its other partners to use it as well. The problem is that most people going to YouTube are more interested in seeing unauthorized clips from The Daily Show than they are in seeing cousin Billy take his first steps. The more deals YouTube can sign with all the key content owners, the faster those illegal clips will be replaced with approved versions; the latter will undoubtedly feature more pre- or post-roll ads, of course.
I wouldn’t mind more advertising on YouTube clips. In fact, if they sign up enough networks and other key content owners, I might just do away with my DVR. Why would I continue paying my cable company for content I can see for free online, especially since that would also mean I’d get to see it anywhere I happen to be with my computer, not just in my house?
Cuban might still be right, of course. It only takes one unhappy copyright holder to create a mess. But, I’d say things appear to be very interesting for YouTube, regardless of whether the Google rumors turn out to be true.