Cuban is not crazy

Mark Cuban knows a few things first hand – how to snooker a big company into buying something for billions and then walk into the sunset. Perhaps that is why I take his argument that a moron would buy YouTube seriously. Only 25% of those who have voted in our poll think it is likely to happen. Here is a good comment worth reading. (Anyway I have gotten a gym membership, just in case I have to lose them 40 pounds.)

If you can look past the polemics, his argument about the copyright nightmare and lawsuits that await the buyer are spot on. It is something which I have harped on about for a long time. Remember my piece, Google, YouTube & the dark side of online video. In his latest missive, Cuban writes:

Youtube doesn’t stream. They use progressive download. So the damage claims are going to be per download and enormous. Its obvious what Youtube is trying to do. They are trying to push the obligation of licensing rights out on the rights holders by hiding behind the Safe Harbor rules of the DMCA. Make the rights holders find the copyrighted materials out of 60k uploads a day rather than make Youtube find the copyright owners of the materials uploaded.

This could be the rub, and Google (or whomever) should resist falling for the chimera of traffic stats and millions of videos watched. These stats from Hitwise show that while things are not going as well for Google Video, they are not that bad either if they decided to work alone. (Hitwise has blogged this on their site, so you might want to read the whole report.)

  • Last month YouTube received a market share of visits 4 times greater than Google Video.
  • Google’s replacement of the Froogle link with the Video on the homepage in August resulted in a 179% increase in visits to Google Video from July to September 2006, and only a 19% decrease in visits to Froogle over the same time period.
  • Google is YouTube’s second most important source of traffic other than MySpace. In September 2006, 10.7% of YouTube’s upstream visits came from Google, while MySpace accounted for 16.2% of YouTube’s upstream traffic.

For alternative POV check out Cynthia Brumfield and Don Dodge. Mark Evans gets the last word when he writes, “Maybe YouTube’s copyright issues will be a factor in the final price but I think many of Cuban’s arguments – while passionate – won’t be a consideration at all.”

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