YouTube to go down the tubes?

Summary:Last week, at MIT Emerging Technologies Conference, AOL Chairman and CEO John Miller predicted the YouTube would get acquired.  When asked by a Reuters reporter if that meant that AOL was considering an acquisition of video sharing site, he made it clear that he wasn't going to confirm or deny anything and simply asked the question "Does anybody believe YouTube will be independent in five years?

Last week, at MIT Emerging Technologies Conference, AOL Chairman and CEO John Miller predicted the YouTube would get acquired.  When asked by a Reuters reporter if that meant that AOL was considering an acquisition of video sharing site, he made it clear that he wasn't going to confirm or deny anything and simply asked the question "Does anybody believe YouTube will be independent in five years?" When asked if he though YouTube would get sued for copyright infringement, Miller rhetorically asked "Why sue YouTube if it has no money?"  Good point.  The two comments sets up an interesting issue. If someone comes along to acquire YouTube, might they instantly be faced with a copyright infringement lawsuit? Meanwhile, there's no shortage of naysayers regarding YouTube's future.  Last week, Mark Cuban said "Only a moron would by YouTube." Concurring with Miller in some ways, Cuban told a group of advertisers in New York:

They are just breaking the law.....The only reason it hasn't been sued yet is because there is nobody with big money to sue.

Then, today News.com's Greg Sandoval reported that analysts don't like YouTube's chances either. Wrote Sandoval:

Copyright issues that have plagued video-sharing site YouTube since its official launch almost a year ago will mean that "YouTube will get sued. And it will lose," wrote Josh Bernoff and Ted Schadler, analysts for Forrester Research, on a blog posted last week.

Lawsuits will trigger a chain reaction, according to the analysts, in which YouTube will be forced to remove all copyrighted material--and that means excising most of the professionally made content. What's left will leave YouTube with videos that are "a lot less interesting," said the Forrester analysts.

Meanwhile, in my conversations with some people looking at distributing video on the Internet (and who are faced with making some decisions about which way to go), I've heard rumblings about the agreements that one must sign to use YouTube, causing them to turn to other outlets such as Blip.TV.

Related Video (speaking of video): Inside Mark Cuban's brain

Topics: Social Enterprise

About

David Berlind was fomerly the executive editor of ZDNet. David holds a BBA in Computer Information Systems. Prior to becoming a tech journalist in 1991, David was an IT manager.

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