John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

YouTube: Muahaha–My Master Plan Is Coming to Fruition!

Given the option to pull copyrighted material posted to YouTube without their permission or to monetize it with YouTube’s new Content ID system, some 90 percent of copyright owners are choosing the latter. Since it was first announced, Content ID–which allows rights owners to block an infringing clip, leave it be or grant YouTube permission to sell ads against it–has won some impressive partners, including such media companies as CBS, Universal Music and Electronic Arts. (Obviously, there are some very notable exceptions).

And those who’ve decided to participate have good reason for signing on, as YouTube Product Manager David King points out in a post to the Official Google Blog. “… Our Video ID partners are seeing claimed content more than double their number of views, against which we can run ads,” King writes. “This means that if a partner has, say, 10,000 views of its content, leaving up videos claimed by our system will lead to an average additional 10,000 views of that same content. We call this “partner uplift,” and for some partners we’ve seen uplift as high as 9000 percent.”

At this point, the “partner uplift” to which King refers hasn’t generated much revenue. But it may have created something far more important: a paradigm shift. “We don’t want to condone people taking our intellectual property and using it without our permission,” Curt Marvis, the president of digital media at Lionsgate Entertainment, recently told the New York Times. “But we also don’t like the idea of keeping fans of our products from being able to engage with our content. For the most part, people who are uploading videos are fans of our movies. They’re not trying to be evil pirates, and they’re not trying to get revenue from it.”

But ultimately, the rights owners are. And now that YouTube has more than 70 million monthly unique viewers and a parent company well-practiced in hardball negotiating tactics, it seems they have little choice but to align themselves with the site. Which is ironic, in a way. Because this is exactly the scenario that Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman has been describing since the media behemoth filed its $1 billion copyright infringement suit over video clips on YouTube. Dauman has long maintained that Google’s (GOOG) strategy has been to defy copyright owners long enough to dominate the online video space and bend the content industry to its will. And, indeed, Google seems to have done exactly that.

Entrepreneur Mark Cuban once said, “Only a moron would buy YouTube.” Who’s the moron now?


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik