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No Winners in the Battle for the Internet
By: Bruce Coker
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    Table of Contents:
  • No Winners in the Battle for the Internet
  • A question of perspective
  • Going underground
  • A shared culture

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    No Winners in the Battle for the Internet - Going underground

    (Page 3 of 4 )

    A number of industry insiders expect a similar outcome should Viacom prevail against Google. Some, such as former Congress Legislative Assistant Cord Blomquist, now of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, even go so far as to question whether victory would benefit Viacom at all. "Were the impossible to happen, like a judge shutting down YouTube altogether," says Blomquist in a recent article on techliberation.com, "Viacom may be worse off."

    Blomquist's view might appear extreme, especially when you consider the $1 billion they stand to gain if successful, but he has a point when he says that "moving video from larger sites run by legitimate, domestic businesses means take-down notices might not be honored." The scale of the problem such a scenario could cause for Viacom and other media conglomerates can only be grasped when you consider the sheer size of YouTube. In barely more than three years the site has grown to the point where it hosts over 80 million videos, and it serves an estimated three billion individual video viewings per month. That's like everybody on the entire planet watching six YouTube videos a year.

    It's hard to believe that Viacom haven't considered these figures. Given that they must also have some grasp of the consequences of driving such a vast volume of activity away from YouTube towards smaller service providers, whether domestic or foreign, it's difficult to fathom what, other than raw cash, they might hope to gain from the lawsuit.

    Mike Masnick of Techdirt believes he could have an explanation. "Some folks think that Viacom just filed the lawsuit against Google as the first step in a 'negotiation' to get Google to settle and pay up" he says on his web site. This makes a certain amount of sense. However, if Viacom thinks Google is about to roll over and capitulate it could be making a big mistake. There is plenty of evidence to suggest that Google is not only willing but positively enthusiastic about fighting such actions.

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