Small Business Reading Room

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Digital Copyrights and Responding to Business Threats

If you haven't visited YouTube, you've missed out on one of the more interesting sites, and phenomena on the web in recent times. The site allows anyone who wants, to post videos online to be shared with others for free.

People can add keyword tags to videos that they upload, or videos that they watch, to help describe them and help others find those videos.

There is a section of the site which describes Copyright and Inappropriate Content, and asks people not to post videos that don't infringe copyrights. However, people do post content that they don't own the copyright to, without the permission of the owners of those videos.

That's one of the risks that a business takes when their business focuses upon creating material that can be so easily copied digitally. How do you respond as a business when something like this happens to you? A business 2.0 blog post looks at one piece of that puzzle in Universal Threatens YouTube With a CopyFight.

I was going to write more about this topic when I first came across that post, not expecting a quick followup post on the business 2.0 blog - YouTube Announces New Copyright Tracking System.

I'm stunned and surprised that YouTube acted so quickly, but I shouldn't be. A business should be aware of the potential risks that they take, and having a system that allows people to post digital material like this runs the risk of potential problems with the producers of that material.

What's even more interesting about this is that Warner Music is involved in letting YouTube users use music from their catalog in videos that appear on the site, and will provide them with video editing tools that will make it easier for them to use that material.

The press release is worth reading: Warner Music Group and YouTube Announce Landmark Video Distribution and Revenue Partnership

It's interesting to see how Universal and Warner are taking different stands on how to treat the materials that they own the copyright to, and how YouTube has responded so quickly to concerns that these producers have.

As an example of different ways to respond to threats to your business, it shows that there are different approaches that you can take - some of them potentially negative and some of them positive. It also shows that YouTube has been planning ahead for this potential problem.


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