As news coverage from media outlets such as ClickZ and others continue to report on the legal happenings against Google and its YouTube division, the snowball will rapidly grow as other media companies begin to flex their muscle.
The action from Viacom will only continue to muddy the water and make contributors think twice before posting content to social media sites, in fear of getting wrapped up in the middle of a copyright battle. After all, the Napster downfall didn’t gain any traction until copyright holders started going after users, rather than the network.
This is also a double-edged sword for content developers. On one hand, people are posting their content to these social media sites “without their written consent,” which by law is a no-no. On the other hand, these same sites are bringing much larger attention to the big gun’s and their various media franchises.
In order to not fall into the same fate as Napster, YouTube will need to take a preemptive strike in dealing with these media outlets, rather than trying to pass the buck to their users. A revenue sharing model would provide a kick-back for copyright holders, while allowing the social community to determine what’s relevant for posting.