GooTube: Impending Doom? For Users, Maybe

In the same breath as pocketing a cool $1.65B in Google stock, licensing and copyright-protection agreements were made with the likes of Warner, Sony/BMG, Universal, CBS (it’s looking like one singular beast of a media mongrel at this point).

You Tube has been all the rage for it’s year-and-a-half existence, but — isn’t YouTube’s success primarily a result of its lax oversight and takedown policies? Surely, Chad Hurley and his couple dozen of employees at You Tube don’t care anymore — as long as they sell their Google stock in the near future. But once you can’t get anything you want on You Tube, the traffic will most naturally channel itself elsewhere.

Alex Veiga wrote about this today for the AP, and the article‘s a good read, complete with a variety of quotes. The basic drift is:

[R]ecent agreements with high-profile content creators require YouTube to deploy an audio-signature technology that can spot a low-quality copy of a licensed music video or other content. YouTube would have to substitute an approved version of the clip or take the material down automatically.

Veiga predicts that YouTube’s anti-piracy platform will resemble the nightmare watermarking techniques of Audible Magic. Competitor Guba uses content-comparison software called “Johnny” to filter out copyright infgingements on videos uploaded there.

CJR’s Gal Beckerman says the deal is “doomed just because it is.” YouTubers are “gravely concerned,” summarizes another article.

The real winners here are the VC’s, like Sequoia Capital, which invested 11 million into YouTube and come out of the deal with a whole lot more, writes Staci of Paid Content.

Sure, Google and YouTube will most likely come out OK. The real losers, however, are the users — that is to say everyone save for the handful of jackasses makin a mean living by hording and raping other people’s property (not the kind of OPP that any content producer or consumer would be down with).

Is Google lining up to be the darling sweetheart of government-sponsored corporate Internet ownership? Google does publish a little one-sheet guide to Net Neutrality, deep in their help section). I’m guessing there aren’t many Save the Internet badges floating around Mountain View.

(Apparently you’ll never find out what’s going on at Google if you’re using Yahoo Maps). Which reminds me of a prank Yahoo! pulled when they launched their new Maps beta last year. The address for Google was listed as “The Dude’s Fish Store.” It’s hilarious — read about it here. Perhaps the grey boxes on Y!Maps are just retribution.)

Online News Readership Up Big in U.S., UK

Start spreadin’ it: Online newspaper Web sites are averaging 55.5 million unique visits per month according to a new study released by The Newspaper Association of America. That’s one-third higher than last year’s average over the same period. (Click here to download the complete Fall 2006 Newspaper Audience Database [PDF]).

Across the pond, new Nielsen/Net Ratings research shows that 40% of all Britons with online access use newsfeeds. But, as BBC News — which has consistently been ahead of the curve as far as online news sites — stresses, more than two-thirds of all respondents did not know that the official term for newsfeeds is RSS or Really Simple Syndication. The RSS (or whatever ya wanna call it) revolution is alive! Click here for a PDF of this report. (Thanks Niall Kennedy for blogging this to my attention and also for grabbing the image below):

Also fresh out — The RTNDA’s The Future of News ten-part report, summed up in a great Poynter article / Q&A as “Viewers to TV Execs: We’re Smarter Than You Think.” (Duh!)

Finally, I’ve just gotta post this — YNET printed a translation of a Q&A exchange on The Iranian Supreme Leader Sayyid Ali Khameini’s Web site which included such issues as masturbating on Ramadan. Read all about it here.

FCC Public Hearings on Media Ownership TODAY

The Davidson Center at USC was filled beyond capacity with an energetic and at times vocal crowd. Shortly after the hearings began an overflow room was set up: the public interest is definitely ALIVE and kicking in support of the local news initiative and other topics of discussion. The FCC commissioners, divided 3-2 in favor of Republicans, found themselves laughing at the most unlikely speakers at the early session which focused on: “Creative Community / Independent Programming.”

Click here to read the Commissioner’s testimonies, click here for audio archives and live video of today’s two sessions (the second this evevining in El Segundo).

* Click here to read the testimony of Lear Center Director Marty Kaplan (PDF).
* Click here to read Patrick Verrone’s testimony (president of the Writer’s Guild of America, west).
* Click here to read the testimonies of the SAG’s President Alan Rosenberg, and VP Anne-Marie Johnson.

Other speakers included: REM bassist Mike Mills on behalf of the Recording Artists’ Coalition, John Connolly, president of AFTRA, and members of Parents Television Council.

Long live local media! Here’s to the FCC getting an earful.