Time Warner's Dick Parson's wants a piece of Google - YouTube. Mr Parsons told the Guardian: "You can assume we're in negotiations with YouTube and that those negotiations will be kicked up to the Google level in the hope that we can get to some acceptable position."
Time Warner owns lots of content companies including; Warner Brothers, Time, HBO, Time Warner Cable, Home Box Office, New Line Cinema, Turner Broadcasting, and of course, AOL.
News Corp, owner of Fox Interactive and MySpace, also wants a larger piece of the Google pie. Earlier News Corp threatened to block YouTube from MySpace. This was probably just a negotiating ploy. Rupert Murdoch, chairman of News Corp, and Ross Levinsohn, president of Fox Interactive, are meeting with Google this week to discuss expanding their relationship. Translation? More money flowing from Google to News Corp.
It has only been a few days, and the Google - YouTube deal hasn't closed yet. How long do you think it will be until other copyright holders jump in? GigaOm says "Deep pockets do have a way of attracting lawsuits."
Value in the eyes of the beholder - Many argue this is a solvable problem. Theoretically it is. The problem is vast differences of opinion on the "value" of a music or video clip. The value to YouTube is limited to some percentage of the advertising revenue they can collect. We are talking less than a penny per stream. The copyright holders believe their content is the basis of the whole business. They believe a song clip is worth a large fraction of $.99, or a movie clip is worth some fraction of $17.00.
Crazy as it sounds to us, some copyright holders would choose to block their content from YouTube rather than accept pennies from YouTube. They don't view this as a new revenue stream. Instead they view YouTube as pirates who cut traditional sales of their content.
Do short clips really cut into traditional sales? I don't think so. Just because someone watches a short clip doesn't mean they would have bought the song or movie. In the case of Napster the user was getting the complete song so perhaps there was some logic to their argument. I still don't believe it...but that is a moot point. However, when a user views a 2 minute clip of a 2 hour movie is there really any "damage" done or lost sale to the movie producer? I doubt it, but again...it doesn't matter.
Principles matter - Copyright holders don't engage in logical debates about the "value" of their content. They own it and they establish the value. They have the law on their side and they want their money. It is the principle of getting paid for their work, for every use, that matters. Dick Parsons of Time Warner said "“If you let one thing ignore your rights as an owner it makes it much more difficult to defend those rights when the next guy comes along.”
You pay the price they want or you don't get to use their content. Simple as that. The differences in the business "value" to YouTube are not as simple.