YouTube = Napster?

September 14th, 2006 by Alex

Well, I suppose it had to happen sometime. The head of Universal is warning YouTube that the combined wrath of the recording industry is about to come down upon their heads. The New York Post reports:

Universal Music chief Doug Morris launched a loud salvo at YouTube, warning the upstart Internet firm that it could come into the legal crosshairs of the world’s largest music company.

YouTube, the prolific swapper of videos online, consistently violates the music industry’s copyrights when it allows users to post videos, Morris said in a speech at a Merrill Lynch conference in California.

Morris’ cage-rattling could signal the first legal fight on behalf of a major content company against YouTube, which was founded less than two years ago but has quickly become the dominant online video site. According to industry data, some 60 percent of videos viewed online come from YouTube.

I’ve got to concede that, legally, they have a point. There’s a lot of stuff on YouTube that’s clearly copyrighted material. Still, once again, I think the record companies are being self-destructive here — is it really a bad thing that I can watch the same video I can watch on MTV again and again if I like the song? Won’t that ultimately lead me to, I don’t know, buy the song? Or is that just me?

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