Universal does YouTube a favor, and sues MySpace

Could we be seeing the latest round of MySpace vs YouTube?
Written by Steve O'Hear, Contributor

Yesterday's news that Universal Music Group is suing MySpace for copyright infringement signifies the latest round of MySpace vs YouTube - and this time YouTube comes out on top.
A quick recap of the fight so far:

  • MySpace blocks access to YouTube videos, only to reinstate them after a user backlash. (Dec 05)
  • News Corp. COO Peter Chernin claims that with 60-70% of YouTube's traffic coming from MySpace (a figure that YouTube disputes), in order to overtake YouTube, the social networking site will add its own video sharing tools. (Sept 06)
  • Amid rumors of a possible buyout, YouTube cuts licensing deals with Sony BMG, CBS, and Universal Music Group. Fox is noticeably absent. (Oct 06)
  • The following day, Google buys YouTube for $1.65 billion (Oct 06).
  • A subtle but significant change to MySpace means that users can now upload videos directly, without the need to embed code into their user profile or rely on third party video hosting from sites like YouTube. The gloves are off. (Oct 06)
  • Marc Cuban posts a possible 'insider' account of Google's purchase of YouTube which claims that as part of the content deals YouTube struck with Universal et al. those companies would file lawsuits against YouTube's competitors, as well as giving YouTube a six month copyright infringement embargo (for content not covered by the deal). (Oct 06)
  • Following similar suits against video sharing sites Grouper and Bolt, Universal Music Group files suit against MySpace. (Nov 06)

Even if we rule out the murky account of the GooTube deal given in Marc Cuban's post, the above series of events makes for intriguing reading. Upon hearing the news of a UMG/MySpace lawsuit, none will be happier than YouTube.

Update: ZDNet blogger Russell Shaw gives his take, and asks for yours.

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