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Weird Science

Weird Science – YouTube Founders are Halfway Crooks

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Your favorite media company and your favorite website are involved in heated court battle and the dirty laundry of both companies is being scattered all over the internet…

In March 2007 Viacom, home of MTV, Comedy Central and BET accused Google Inc of  turning a blind eye to illegal video clips on its YouTube site in a bid to attract viewers.  Viacom charged that Google and YouTube execs were aware that videos were being illegally uploaded to the site, failed to stop it, and in some cases, broke the law by adding copyrighted clips themselves.  As part of their case Viacom provided close to two dozen excerpts from emails in 2005 between YouTube co-founders Chad Hurley, Steve Chen and Jawad Karim…

The emails are pretty damaging to the team YouTube’s defense.  For instance in an email about a competing video website on July 29, 2005, Youtube co-founder Steve Chen wrote to YouTube co-founders Chad Hurley and Jawed Karim, “Steal It!”  Chad Hurley responded: “hmm, steal the movies?”  Founder Steve Chen replied: “We have to keep in mind that we need to attract traffic.  How much traffic will we get from personal videos? Remember, the only reason why our traffic surged was due to a video of this type… Viral videos will tend to be THOSE type of videos.”

In another email sent by co-founder Steve Chen in August, 2005 in response to a cautionary email sent by founder Chad Hurley about uploaded copyrighted material, Chen replies… “I don’t really see what will happen.  What?  Someone from CNN sees it?  He happens to be someone with power?  He happens to want to take it down right away. He get’s in touch with CNN Legal… weeks later we get a cease and a desist letter we take it down…”

Google counters that Viacom managers continued to secretly upload content to YouTube even after the media had filed it’s billion dollar law suit.  Youtube’s chief legal counsel says that Viacom routinely left up clips from shows that had been uploaded to Youtube by ordinary users…”

The YouTube lawyer went so far as to name drop some Viacom execs and shouted out that “Executives as high up as the president of Comedy Central and the head of MTV Networks  felt very strongly that clips from shows like The Daily Show and the Colbert Report  should remain on Youtube.  The lawsuit is being seen and a test of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act… the law criminalizes the production of technology to circumvent anti-piracy measures while limiting the liability of providers of online services for copyright infringement for users.  Google also claims that Viacom tried to buy Youtube in 2006 for 1.65 billion and this may just be a case of sour grapes…

Viacom should have done what Amazon and Barnes and Nobles did… in a nod to the age old motto of… if you can’t beat’em… JOIN EM!  Both Amazon and Barnes and Nobles will release their own separate digital book store apps for the iPad.

The Kindle app features the ability to slowly turn the pages with fingers, much like Apple’s own iBook software.  Amazon.com the maker of the kindle plans to create a whole section on it’s Website to promote Kindle apps for tablet computers and promotional material specifically targeted for the iPad.  Apple has created it’s own iBook application and accompanying iBookstore which will be available for download via the App store.  Good luck guys.  It appears to me, that this fight is fixed!


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