In the past week YouTube and MySpace have taken steps to reduce the copyrighted content on their websites. But that is where the similarity ends. While YouTube has been forced by Viacom to take down its copyrighted content, MySpace is experimenting with a video filtering system on its own. And in the end the consequences for both companies could be very different. As more owners of copyrighted music and video content pull out of the social networking space, it’s possible that YouTube could become devasted, while MySpace may not be harmed at all.
YouTube’s original – ‘broadcast yourself’- philosophy has been diluted over the months since its founding. What was originally intended as a place to showcase one’s self-shot video’s has now become flooded with copyrighted content. I know of many people (including myself) who search for a lot of music video’s on YouTube – exactly the type of thing that Viacom and other copyright owners don’t like. Meanwhile, MySpace users personalize their profile pages with copyrighted audio and video from media and entertainment companies.
YouTube’s popularity had meant that record companies were willing to keep quiet about their copyrighted content as long as it received publicity. Now, though, Viacom has decided it can market its own content, including its Comedy Central clips and other content from MTV Networks.
Fortunately for Viacom it has properties that will receive plenty of eyeballs no matter where they are hosted. YouTube, on the other hand has lost out on a chance to make money while sharing some of the revenue with the copyright owners.
As for MySpace, this will just be a temporary blip. It hardly takes away from their main offering and it’s a smart move that could insulate the company from any future lawsuits.