Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Not MyTube - Don't Sue Me!

For those of you who don't read newspapers often enough, the news came out Tuesday that Viacom (the parent company of Paramount, CBS, MTV, et. al.) is suing YouTube and Google for a whopping $1 billion for copyright infringement. That's billion with a "B," folks.

It's actually a case that has a lot of interesting facets and could affect how we use online media for years to come. Viacom is ticked off that clips from many of its programs and music videos are posted on YouTube for free, where anyone can access them. This, of course, means that Viacom isn't making any money off its own material, while YouTube is getting millions of hits.

YouTube yanks most of the copyrighted stuff off its sight when it is informed of the infringment, but because of the nature of these sites, anyone can post most anything at any time, so it's very difficult to keep up with it all.

The BBC got around this problem by signing a deal with YouTube to broadcast BBC material online, but a similar deal between Viacom and YouTube fell through.

With the future of media heading more toward the Internet, this case could influence the TV/Internet synergy for years to come, especially with networks hosting their own Web sites and with making shows available for sale on platforms such as iTunes.

With commercial TV changing in its very nature with the advent of things like DVRs - which are making commercials obselete - the way we watch TV and how networks make their money is going to change over the next few years.

What is worrisome is that this could really end up biting the average consumer in the hindquarters. Look at the music industry, for example.

The RIAA, which oversees the industry, is not only shutting down and suing Web sites left and right for illegal downloads, they are also going after consumers who download the songs. Some people are paying hundreds, even thousands of dollars for songs they have downloaded from these sites over the years.

Is TV heading for the same thing? If you download your favorite show from something other than a network site or iTunes, could you face legal trouble?

This is a case to keep your eye on.

THURSDAY SWITCHEROO: According to, "30 Rock" will not be pulled for the entire six weeks in lieu of "Andy Barker, P.I." "Barker," which debuts tomorrow night on NBC, will replace "30 Rock" for a couple of weeks.

But "30 Rock" will return sooner than expected, with super-sized episodes beginning April 5. It then moves into the 9 p.m. slot on April 12, replacing "Scrubs," which will be pushed back to 9:30 p.m. "Scrubs," in turn, will air back-to-back episodes from 9-10 p.m. beginning May 3.

Got all that?

WEDNESDAY'S BEST BETS: We've missed you, Dr. Brennan. "Bones" (Fox, 8 p.m.) returns from a three-week hiatus with a new episode tonight, in which one of Brennan's books is the template for a murder. It's followed by the always-popular "American Idol" and the sitcom "Til Death."

ABC is running new episodes of sitcom mediocrity from 8-10 p.m., followed by a new "Lost."

"Jericho," (CBS, 8 p.m.) and "Crossing Jordan" (NBC, 9 p.m.) are also new.


Zodin2008 said...

Big surprise there at the end of "lost" with Jack but little shock I have to say in learning that Clare is Jack's little sister.

And yes, Phillip, welcome back Dr. Brennan/

Phillip Ramati said...

Shhhh....Some people may not have seen "Lost" yet. Don't want to spoil anything.