The Google Backlash

Poor YouTube. It seems that this innovative idea that once attracted the world's amateur filmmakers to put their work out there for the world to see has become a target since it's purchase by behemoth search-provider Google, dooming everyone's favorite at-work pastime to fall prey to the insecurities of media giants trying to bring down Google before the quirky search company can dominate every realm of the Web.

In recent months, Google has been the target of everyone from Microsoft to Viacom to The American Association of Publishers, with a host of others trying to edge in on Google's (what used to seem inevitable) takeover of everything Internet.

Google's latest (and on-going) thorn in its paw has come from Viacom in the form of a $1 billion lawsuit. Just a month after Viacom asked Google's YouTube to remove all of its content from the site, Viacom says that the video-sharing site is participating in "massive intentional copyright infringement."

Despite YouTube's efforts to comply with the plethora of complaints that have been ushered in throughout the last few months about copyrighted material, it seems that the site is not policing its content adequately enough for its attackers. (YouTube has a policy to remove copyrighted material when asked.)

YouTube's original appeal came with the freedom it allowed the world to share content, much like the once-popular Napster, it seems that YouTube will eventually be destroyed by the legal ramifications that the openness of the Web allows. As a frequent viewer of YouTube, I feel that the site has already been tainted and lost that special something that once made it so interesting to visit. The mass appeal of the site has brought out a slew of other companies posting their own content to the Web in hopes of competing with the traffic that YouTube generates.

Did Google's acquisition of the company bring unwanted attention to YouTube's copyright issues? Or was YouTube doomed to follow the path of Napster from the start? Will all content eventually go the way of sites like iTunes, making the amateur filmmaker just an amateur once again?

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  • Robin

    The sad reality here is that YouTube has never given me the impression of being a company for the little guy. Sure, it is interesting to see videos made by the regular folks. But, how many times do you want to see poeple imitating stunts from Jackass, or other things that become monotonous quickly?

    The major force driving traffic to YouTube, and its ultimate potential killer, is the copyrighted content it makes freely available. I think that we are all guilty of watching copyrighted material in YouTube.

    The only option at the end could be either the death of YouTube and the $1.65 billion dollars Google spent on it, or a modification of their business plan in which content providers receive part of the advertisement money. Otherwise, YouTube will be the Napster of 2007. And we all saw what happened to Napster.

    Let's hope they are capable of working something out.