Viacom is suing Youtube for one billion. While the damages sought are certainly inflated, the principle behind the suit is solid.
I think Youtube is a great site, but I never understood how such a blatant disregard for copyright could be tolerated by an operation that uses a centralized website for distribution.
Centralized P2P file sharing networks were pretty much dismantled a few years ago, so its hard to imagine how Youtube was tolerated, while actually storing the content on their servers.
Its funny, I get quite a few non-techie friends and family who joke about how the Youtube guys are now nearly billionaires, and why didn’t I think of that?
Putting user uploaded video on a website is a pretty straightforward idea. Its not rocket science, but nobody tried it on a large scale pre-Youtube because of copyright and adult content concerns. This lawsuit is validation of those potential copyright concerns.
I have to hand it to the Youtube founders. They were able to make a killing off an idea that is completely unoriginal, propelled by complete disregard for IP law. Its probably the most lucrative sale of an unoriginal web business since broadcast.com was sold by Mark Cuban.