Could this be the End of YouTube?

Dennis Faas's picture

When Google purchased popular online video site YouTube for over a billion dollars a year ago, many industry analysts raised eyebrows in disbelief. The Big G is still struggling to make a profit with that investment, and recent copyright lawsuits demanding billions more dollars are not helping.

That's why Google and YouTube have now officially unveiled a "content identification system," which will give copyright owners control over how their material appears on the video-based site.

The new service's official name is YouTube Video Identification, and Google hopes it will calm angry legal seas. Earlier this year, Viacom filed a heavy copyright infringement lawsuit against Google and YouTube, alleging that both companies showed a "brazen disregard" for property law. Viacom's $1 billion lawsuit argues that Google and YouTube's actions threaten "the economic underpinnings of one of the most important sectors of the United States economy." That's a big statement, and even bigger lawsuit.

No wonder Google and YouTube have got off their duffs with the new Video Identification service. According to David King, YouTube Product Manager, "Video Identification goes above and beyond our legal responsibilities," and will "help copyright holders identify their works on YouTube, and choose what they want done with their videos: whether to block, promote, or even -- if a copyright holder chooses to license their content to appear on the site -- monetize their videos." (Source:

As you might expect, the plan for such an initiative has been in the works for some time. When the identification system was first announced in theory some time ago, Google CEO Eric Schmidt boldly predicted that it would make Viacom's legal beef, "moot". The announcement has not immediately received a response from Viacom, which may believe the damage has been done. If a court of law agrees, we could be near the end of YouTube. (Source:

In all likelihood, it would be the monetization of videos that would knock YouTube off its lofty perch. Granted, satisfying Viacom and its billion-dollar blues is important, but so too is taking care of the throngs of web users who have made the video site such a phenomenon.

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