No open source pressure in Viacom-Google case

No open source pressure in Viacom-Google case

Summary: Viacom claims Google's YouTube is profiting from piracy, but YouTube is not monetizing the traffic in question. Viacom is, but its costs for hosting are not inconsiderable, its distribution capacity is limited, and the failure to create a network of online resellers is, over the long run, untenable.

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TOPICS: Piracy
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Why write about Viacom's suit against Google in an open source blog?

Because there but for the grace of open source goes software. (The image is from the ZDNet blog of Donna Bogatin, who holds a different, albeit quite valid, view on these topics.)

Back at the turn of the century stories like this one dominated the pages at ZDNet and the rest of the computer press. Proprietary software companies, through the Business Software Alliance, were raiding many American businesses, and anger toward these tactics was growing.

You don't read much about it any more, and I don't believe that's because of BSA's enforcement efforts. It's because companies which don't feel they can afford BSA member prices have an alternative. They can get it free, through open source, and pay for only the support they need.

Instead, most BSA activities today involve Internet pirates and international activity. The number of DMCA notices for violation of U.S. software licenses has slowed to a trickle. And I for one fully support these BSA actions. "Selling" software you don't own for "bargain" prices is no bargain, it's theft on both sides, and you just don't have to do it.

No such compromise is available on the video front. Viacom claims Google's YouTube is profiting from piracy, but YouTube is not monetizing the traffic in question. Viacom is, but its costs for hosting are not inconsiderable, its distribution capacity is limited, and the failure to create a network of online resellers is, over the long run, untenable.

The agreement Viacom has with Joost must also be questioned. The Joost application uses peer-to-peer technology. Critics in the ISP space may thus call it a bandwidth pirate. At least Google's system is open about those costs.

Only direct negotiations, and a financial accommodation, can end the content copyright wars. Waiting for corporate egos and their lawyers to do the right thing, absent the market pressure open source provided in software, however, is bound to be painful.  

 

Topic: Piracy

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3 comments
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  • Rubbing their hands in anticipation....

    One thing is certain : corporate lawyers on both sides of the dispute are rubbing their hands with glee in anticipation of the fat fees they will extract - note that I do not say ?earn? - in the process of demonising the opposite party and placing those whom they are hired to represent on the side of the angels. In th3e end, of course, it is net-users who will pay the piper, without, however, having the slightest input upon which tune is played. All this under the name of ?democracy?, but here it is definitely not the [i]δῆμος[/i] who have their hands on the [i]κϱατία[/i]....

    Henri
    mhenriday
  • Regardless of the infrastructure or ability of Viacom to deliver content

    ...this is theft. You can try and justify it a million ways but theft is still theft.

    It really amazes me how irresponsible the attitude seems to be about this. How ever you look at this, copyrighted material is being broadcast (lest we forget that YouTube is BROADCASTING THIS, unlike Kazaa, Napster et.al) and revenue generating ads keep on bringing in the money for YouTube. Whether or not you think Viacom is evil, or the amount is too much, the base fact remains: YouTube is liable. It is their network, their storage, their infrastructure that is re-broadcasting this material.

    I don't often support unleasing the corporate lawyer rottweilers, but this one is soooooo justified.
    Scrat
  • Opensource @ Joost

    Before you write about Joost maybe you should do a little bit of research into who the majority of Joost's employees are like Dirk-Willem van Gulik from the Apache Foundation who is the CTO.

    A good place to start reasearching would be this webpage http://opensource.joost.com/
    Matt_H