If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Use ‘Em

Here’s an interesting article from The New York Times that does a nice job of laying out the evolution of YouTube; or at least other folks’ perception of it. The gist of the piece is that increasingly copyright owners are not demanding that YouTube remove content, but are instead, using the YouTube posts for advertising, and sharing the revenue generated. It used to be that YouTube spent a lot of time across the table from copyright lawyers. Now, they are more and more meeting with marketing folks to negotiate mutually beneficial deals. I don’t think this is an accident. The online world has made it difficult to enforce copyrights in the traditional fashion. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act, for example, merely requires YouTube to take down infringing material if the copyright owner demands that. And it’s probably not worth pursuing whoever originally uploaded the content. So why shouldn’t a copyright owner put down the hammer and make some money? This is a pretty major shift I think.