Fox, Google make strange bedfellows

Summary:In Internet media, the relationship between Google and Fox is among one of the more interesting. Consider: Exhibit A: Google Watch reported that Fox (Twentieth Century Fox to be exact) has subpoenaed YouTube to reveal the identity of users who uploaded four episodes of the TV series "24" and 12 episodes of "The Simpsons.

In Internet media, the relationship between Google and Fox is among one of the more interesting.

Consider:

Exhibit A: Google Watch reported that Fox (Twentieth Century Fox to be exact) has subpoenaed YouTube to reveal the identity of users who uploaded four episodes of the TV series "24" and 12 episodes of "The Simpsons." In a nutshell, a user uploaded pirated copies of those shows and Fox didn't authorize it. Fox wants YouTube to cough up the names of the users. No one is commenting.

The inference is that uploading full episodes is a no-no on YouTube.

Exhibit B: When Google bought YouTube, Fox was notably absent from any content agreements. Part of the reason for that is MySpace, owned by News Corp., parent of Fox properties, views YouTube as a rival.

Exhibit C: Google and MySpace have a lucrative partnership that guarantees significant returns for News Corp.

Exhibit D: Yet Google is throwing some search heft behind YouTube. Google today integrated YouTube video in Google's search results.

These cross-currents create some unique possibilities. Fox, because it's not in bed with YouTube, would appear to be the most likely to sue Google over content use. However, this may not be such a bright idea since Google and News Corp. are ad partners on MySpace, which also happens to send a lot of traffic YouTube's way. Both partners have leverage locked and loaded.

In the end, the current subpoena fracas will blow over. YouTube can cough up the user names--after all it was subpoenaed--and Twentieth Century Fox will prosecute. Neither party will look all that bad. In addition, it'll be very clear that you shouldn't upload full episodes on YouTube.

As for Fox and Google, there will be plenty of money-lubricated harmony--until the next skirmish.

Topics: Social Enterprise

About

Larry Dignan is Editor in Chief of ZDNet and SmartPlanet as well as Editorial Director of ZDNet's sister site TechRepublic. He was most recently Executive Editor of News and Blogs at ZDNet. Prior to that he was executive news editor at eWeek and news editor at Baseline. He also served as the East Coast news editor and finance editor at CN... Full Bio

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