Yesterday, we all heard that Viacom Inc. (NYSE:VIA) was suing Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) for $1 billion in damages over unauthorized Viacom-owned clips uploaded and shared on YouTube. What it came down to, in my opinion, was that while Google offers free products as part of its business model, it has to stop short from offering free products it doesn't own.
I was honestly surprised to hear about the backlash Viacom received from so many on the Internet and blogosphere, with some even suggesting to boycott the media conglomerate. Something's amiss here, I thought, it just doesn't compute. Okay, I know there is a generation out there of people that have probably never bought a CD in their life, don't record TV shows or rented movies because they could get it all -- for free -- online. I know all that, and yet it still surprises me each time that content has lost its right to ownership in the eyes of so many. [Mark Cuban explains how content works for those who need a refresher].
What's more, the naïveté is surprising as well. To think that Viacom is evil while Google understands the market is too simplistic: Do so many honestly think Google is such a revolutionary? Don't they know that Google and YouTube do censor clips constantly? If they didn't, the video-sharing site would have adult videos and extreme violence, not to mention gory news videos from Iraq and other troubled places -- videos
So for all those who think Viacom has a narrow, small-minded corporate approach, I ask -- why is all this filtering happening in YouTube? Why, to make YouTube more advertising friendly of course. And if that isn't small-minded corporate, I don't know what is.
If GooTube can filter these out, surely it can protect copyrighted content -- and it probably should before News Corp. (NYSE:NWS), General Electric Co. (NYSE:GE), CBS Corp. (NYSE:CBS), Walt Disney Co. (NYSE:DIS) and others join forces with Viacom.