Copyright Takes Aim at Video Sharing

In the ongoing copyright wars, some of the most memorable battles were fought by Sony BMG and Universal against upstarts like Napster and Grokster.   Napster and Grokster were ahead of their time.  Alas, like many pioneers, they were effectively litigated out of existence.  Today, dozens of industry-sanctioned sites like iTunes and Puretracks are flourishing. 

With the upsurge in video file-sharing sites, are we going to see a new round of battles, this time over copyright in video and movie content?  The answer to this question will lie in the degree to which the industry becomes successfully enmeshed in the success of video-sharing.  Yes, we are already seeing copyright lawsuits against YouTube and MySpace.  However, the difference is that these popular video-sharing sites aren’t operated by rogue individualists.  They are part of well-established corporate empires: Google bought YouTube; MySpace is owned by News Corp., the parent company of Fox Interactive.  YouTube has already negotiated deals with CBS, Universal, Sony BMG, Warner Music and NBC.  The content industry is enmeshed.  If industry can generate profit through these distribution models, the battles will be between competing empires over who has the most successful distribution model and the most effective copyright protection measures. 

For Canadian video content producers, the questions remain the same as always: can content be distributed profitably or will profits leak out through copyright infringement?  If copyright infringement is occurring, can it be stopped and at what cost?  We’ll continue watching the latest YouTube and MySpace lawsuits to find some of the answers.

Calgary – 12:16 MST

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