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Viacom Brings the Hammer Down On YouTube

Posted by: Rob Hof on March 13, 2007

OK, so now Viacom’s really serious. It’s suing Google and its YouTube unit for $1 billion. Clearly, this is a negotiating tactic, since it seems unlikely Viacom could reasonably expect to get that much in court, especially given that YouTube apparently complies with the DMCA. And as Liz Gannes at NewTeeVee notes, YouTube apparently had only $15 million in sales all last year. Viacom also has a real interest in reaching audiences through YouTube. The question is on what terms. With the two sides this far apart, you have to wonder how they can possibly meet. But now Google has about a billion new reasons to get back to the negotiating table with something serious to offer.

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Reader Comments


March 13, 2007 11:51 PM

i give this whole thing a thumbs down! viacom should back can vote on this over at - its currently their topic of the day!

Josh Warner

March 18, 2007 02:42 PM

Viacom has every right to sue as a negotiating tactic yet advertisers are definitely ratcheting up their YouTube buys this year. Unfortunately they spend as if YouTube is a traditional media outlet not a social network where different rules apply. Link here for our free report “Social Video 101” on how advertisers should approach YouTube and other social video networks.

John Hagel

March 23, 2007 11:00 PM

I agree - the lawsuit is largely a negotiating ploy but if Viacom wins this battle, it might lose the war. I develop that perspective in a recent blog posting at It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

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BusinessWeek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, Douglas MacMillan, and Spencer Ante dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. One of the first mainstream media tech blogs, Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.



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