Press Pause: Google Wanted To Get Sued?

    March 22, 2007
    WebProNews Staff

Programmer Michi Kono has an interesting theory. When Google bought YouTube, all anybody could talk about was the inevitable legal hassle the video-sharing site would face. And sure enough, Viacom slapped them with a $1 billion lawsuit. Kono says that’s exactly what Google wanted.

Plan A was to buy YouTube and hope nobody said anything. Plan B was to get sued and settle this copyright issue once and for all.

"Google not only threw money at YouTube: it threw its lawyers at YouTube too," writes Kono. Who is Michi Kono? Don’t know. Blogger, English major-turned programmer. But it doesn’t matter the cred, this is interesting.

Why, you ask, would Google want to be sued? Good question. Because Google couldn’t afford to have YouTube sued and YouTube lose. Google’s stance on fair use, indexing, and intellectual property is already shaky in regards to Image Search and Book Search.

Google has lots of money to pay lots of great intellectual property and copyright lawyers. YouTube didn’t. And if YouTube lost, then that sets a bad precedent for everything.

"This would have forced everybody to play by the conglomerates’ rules," said Kono, referring to the sweeping victory and control granted to News Corp., Viacom, the RIAA, well, every media company flinging infringement lawsuits all over the web and with a definite stake in the control of it.

But also, Google needed to get a leverage position in video anyway. Might as well own the number one video-sharing site, leverage that for video advertisement sales, and catch every drop of wretched feculence flying forth from the fan.

Whatever the result, a costly legal battle won or a likely settlement with Viacom (which keeps admission of wrong-doing off the record), it’s still cheaper than the revenue lost if YouTube was shut down because of actual, legal reasons.