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Mark Cuban Predicts YouTube’s Demise

Mark Cuban points out why YouTube is going to suffer the same fate as Napster: Copyright issues. It’s been interesting to watch YouTube become one of the most highly trafficked websites around, especially with all the copyrighted content that they serve up.

Perhaps YouTube feels that they’re protected because they publicly state that (a) if you’re uploading content you need to hold the copyright to that content and (b) they will remove anything that was uploaded without the copyright holder’s permission. OK, that’s YouTube’s stated policy, but it doesn’t take long to find countless videos on their site which clearly violate that policy.

So is YouTube doomed like Mark Cuban says it is? I don’t think so. Unlike Napster it appears that YouTube is working to partner with content owners. See this announcement regarding YouTube’s deal with Warner, for example. Will that prevent other content owners from suing? No way.

I think it’s smart for Warner and others to strike a deal with YouTube. That doesn’t prevent them from hosting content on their own site or cutting deals with YouTube competitors. The fact is YouTube gets a boatload of traffic, so assuming the content owners (Warner, in this case) feel the numbers make sense, why wouldn’t you partner with YouTube?

One final question: Why do you suppose Cuban singles out YouTube and doesn’t mention the same problem with Google Video, for example? That seems odd to me.


Joel Downs

I agree with Cuban that YouTube is unsustainable as it is. The Warner deal could be a sign of YouTube's morphing into a form of iTunes Store, where users can actually purchase content online, hopefully preventing most of them from sharing pirated versions.

I think Cuban singles out YouTube because video sharing is really all they do. Google has many other businesses it can rely on, so if it were to face a legal challenge on its video sharing, it wouldn't affect their overall business much. YouTube, on the other hand, relies on the sharing of videos, and I'll go out on a limb to say that most of those videos are copyrighted, so a legal action against YouTube would have a major impact on their business. Of course, they aren't making money anyway...but that's another story. ;)

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