YouTube Buyer Would Be A “Moron”

    September 28, 2006
    WebProNews Staff

Mark Cuban had more criticisms for prospective buyers of popular video sharing site YouTube, due to the site’s continual use by people for posting copyrighted works without permission.

The magic words from dot-com veteran and HD NET owner Mark Cuban appeared in a Reuters report:

“They are just breaking the law,” Cuban told a group of advertisers in New York. “The only reason it hasn’t been sued yet is because there is nobody with big money to sue.”

Cuban said “anyone who buys that (YouTube) is a moron” because of potential lawsuits from copyright violations.

“There is a reason they haven’t yet gone public, they haven’t sold. It’s because they are going to be toasted,” said Cuban, who has sold start-ups to Yahoo Inc. and CompuServe.

Cuban had recently encouraged YouTube to “sell if you can” in a recent post on his Blog Maverick site:

A word of wisdom to a potential buyer, the minute the labels see even the hint of deep pockets they are going to come after you for all your worth. It will be a Lawyers Employment Act.

In another post in mid-September, Cuban cited the Supreme Court decision in MGM v Grokster as an inevitable problem for YouTube: “With the MGM vs Grokster ruling, its just a question of when Youtube will be hit with a charge of inducing millions of people to break copyright laws, not if.”

I asked Cuban via email if he could cite anywhere on YouTube that specifically and explicitly advocated use of the site to skirt around copyright laws. That’s important, because in Justice David Souter’s opinion on Grokster, that service marketed itself in that way.

It was a narrowly written opinion that neatly dodged the broader issue of file sharing. Cuban believes that YouTube would fail the Grokster test, I disagreed because of the narrowness of the ruling. Neither of us hold a law degree, but the inducement angle to Grokster discussed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Fred von Lohmann seems to be one that would be hard to prove YouTube actively engaged in promoting.

With apologies to Mark Cuban, I don’t know if suing YouTube under Grokster would be a slam dunk.

Add to | Digg | Yahoo! My Web | Furl

Bookmark WebProNews:

David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.