Science & Technology

Unholy Alliance?


Maverick Mavericks owner and billionaire geek Mark Cuban reports some interesting details in the Google-YouTube deal.

The gist:  Google wanted YouTube because of its enormous traffic and reputation as a market leader—that is, its brand.  But while suitors lined up for YouTube, the site's proprietors also had to warn Yahoo, Newscorop, and the like of the swarm of copyright suits hanging over the company's head.  Google took a gamble.  According to Cuban's source, Google went to all the major media companies with an open checkbook, and bought some "hush" time.  Apparently, about six months' worth.  The money will keep the lawyers off YouTube long enough for the company to gather more eyeballs, accumulate more clicks, and generate a revenue stream.  At that point, negotiations on copyright sharing will begin. 

But between now and then, Big Entertainment plans to throw all its legal muscle at YouTube's already-meager competitors.  Not so much because they're any real threat to copyright, but because doing so will solidify YouTube's already-massive market share.  It'll likely grant the site a complete monopoly.  Wich means YouTube goes back to the entertainment industry in six months with more traffic, more ad revenue, no competitors, and with scads more money for negotiating.  The kicker is that the entertainment industry has no plans to share any of its YouTube money with individual artists.

Cuban throws out some caveats about not being privy to any of this information firsthand, but notes that the story "rings true," and comes from a reliable source.  Of course, this is the same Cuban who said YouTube was worthless, just days before Google broke the bank to buy it.

Still, if true, it's an interesting bit of insider information, and likely to generate some bad PR (deserved or not)—for the already villainous entertainment industry, but also for the "Don't Be Evil" empire.