• 15 Aug 2007 at 11:43 AM
  • Viacom

The Threatdown, On the Stand

The deposition request lists are out for Viacom’s $1 billion lawsuit against Google. Viacom wants the YouTube and Google founders on the stand. Google wants to depose Viacom Chairman Sumner Redstone, CEO Philippe Dauman, Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart.
Presumably Google wants to ask whether Daily Show or Colbert Report employees uploaded videos to YouTube, as they were among the site’s most popular offerings. Will swearing to tell the whole truthiness and nothing but the truthiness get the Comedy Central stars in trouble?
If it does, it’s not going to happen for a while. The actual trial may not happen until 2009, with pre-trial measures expected to conclude in December 2008.
YouTube wants to depose Stephen Colbert, Jon Stewart [c|net]

  • 15 May 2007 at 1:54 PM
  • Media

Law and Order: Special Online Victim’s Unit

keystone cops.jpg Viacom, already suing YouTube for $1bn, spends $100k a month on a proprietary content task force, and even more time whining to the media about it. The task force’s mission is to find Viacom content on YouTube, tell YouTube about it, and wait until YouTube takes the clip down. Then Viacom slams the door to its room several times so you know it’s mad. Pretty imposing.
This is the latest ignominy in a long, degrading fall for Old Media (along with the release of the networks’ fall lineups which just came out…ouch), and has to be indicative of how little Google is actually worried about the $1bn lawsuit. Rushing to lose the online sharing ratings race, NBC Universal spends $1mm a month on its own anti-piracy efforts, and several other Old Media outlets have dedicated teams of people hired to throw proprietary content sharing hissy-fits. CBS has hired David Caruso to look for YouTube violations full time from his fictitious Miami residence.
YouTube, instead of implementing a permanent video filtering or flagging technology, has a team, called SQUAD (Safety Quality User Advocacy Department) that takes all the clip violation requests with a straight face, unable to fathom how impotent the Old Media companies are. Such technology isn’t a stretch, as MySpace already has a video fingerprinting technology in place that prevents flagged content from reappearing on the site.
The YouTube Police [BusinessWeek]

  • 09 Feb 2007 at 9:26 AM
  • Companies

Why We Are Not Shannon Hermes And Why We Should Have Been

googtubelogo3.JPGOkay. Here’s a little story. Around a year ago we were doing a lot of freelance writing, growing unpersuasive facial hair and trying to figure out what to do with ourselves now that we had bailed out of the world of high yield finance. One of the things that kept us entertained during this period was a quirky little online video sharing community called YouTube.
We liked it so much we even pitched a story about it to the New York Times. To our surprise, the Times loved the idea and told us to bring them a story in two weeks. This turned out to be harder than we thought, in part because the users of the still young YouTube community were very wary of outsiders emailing them and asking questions.
One then-prominent YouTuber answered our inquiries with this:

But how can i REALLY know you’re from the new york times? you know, strangers on-line tend to lie…
Example: sometimes when they say that they are female when they are chatting … they are really male… ;)
I hope you understand where i’m coming from…

But by far our favorite response was this one:

lol NY Times, ok dude. Sure I’ll call you, then next thing I know we’re in the back seat of your car behind a McDonald’s and you claim that you ‘forgot’ the rubbers but it’s okay because you’ve ‘had a vasectomy’ and your case of scabies has ‘cleared up’.
The Wall Street Journal would’ve been a better line.

We did finally get the story, and it ran in the Times under the headline “People Who Watch People: Lost in an Online Hall of Mirrors.” It was a bright and shining moment in our fledgling freelance writing career. Not only had we landed a byline in the Times, we had written one of the first articles in a mainstream media outlet about a cutting edge technology we were sure was going to be huge. We were journalists, cutting-edge, trend-defining journalists. And we were very happy about it.
Then Google bought YouTube. And even the receptionist got rich. Suddenly writing about cutting edge technologies didn’t seem like such a bright idea.
The next time we discover the Next Big Thing we’re not pitching anyone any damn stories about it. We’re going to work for them. Even if it means we’re sorting the mail or ordering post-it notes. Because it is just too expensive not to be Shannon Hermes.

YouTube’s making millionaires in the lower ranks
[MarketWatch via CrossingWallStreet]

  • 08 Feb 2007 at 12:37 PM
  • Banks

Don’t Make Us Use The Chain…

Maybe the only things thinner than the ranks of the defenders of Sarbanes-Oxley these days are the arguments the defenders are marshaling to hold off the charge of the reformers. Thomas Palley’s recent attempt—”In Defense Of Sarbox”—is so batty it more or less made us want to pick the pale, beaten body of Palley up off the street, bring him inside, comfort him and then wrap a forty-pound black iron chain around his waist while we broke the itch for bullshit from his brain. (Uhm, see above–and otherwise completely irrelevant–video for an explanation of that metaphor.)
Palley’s basic defense of Sarbox is, well, actually he pretty much left that part out. Instead he kind of just attacked some of the critiques of Sarbox, and even those attacks were more pouts than fully thought out arguments.
Look. This isn’t going to be pretty. So we’re putting the ugly, chain-tugging, break-you-even-if-it-hurts-us-more-than-it-hurts-you-Tommy-boy bits after the jump. Normally we wouldn’t be so mean but Tommy’s website tells us he’s got degrees from Oxford and Yale and he’s a Doctor of some sort. So presumably he can take it.

In Defense Of Sarbox
[Thomas via]

Read more »

Daniela_Cicarelli1.jpgA steamy video of Merrill Lynch banker Renato Malzoni and Brazillian supermodel Daniela Cicarelli may get YouTube shut off in Brazil.

A Brazilian court ordered the popular video sharing service YouTube, a unit of Internet search provider Google Inc., to be shut down until it removes a celebrity sex video from its site, a judicial clerk said on Thursday.
Daniela Cicarelli, a model and ex-wife of soccer great Ronaldo, sued YouTube after a video of her apparently having sex in shallow water on a beach with her boyfriend was posted to the site.
For days it was the most viewed video in Brazil.

While you no doubt deplore this as much as we do, we’re sure that for purely informational purposes you’ll want to know if the video is still available on YouTube. And, well, we can’t say for sure. But we couldn’t find it. And we definitely tried.
But you know where we did find it? Oh, that’s right. Through this link in the DealBreaker archvies.
Brazil court orders YouTube shut on celeb sex video [Reuters]

  • 06 Dec 2006 at 9:32 AM
  • YouTube

YouTube for Data

swivellogo210x.jpgTechcrunch takes notice of a tech start-up called Swivel. The first sentence caught our eye.

Swivel Co-founders Dmitry Dimov and Brian Mulloy start off by describing their company as “YouTube for Data.” That’s a good start for someone trying to understand it, because the site allows users to upload data – any data – and display it to other users visually.

Heh. How many start-ups do you think have begun describing themselves as “the YouTube for ______.” We’re pretty sure the answer is all of them. In fact, we might start describing ourselves as “the YouTube for Wall Street gossip.”
That said, this does sound pretty sweet:

But then the real fun begins. You and other users can then compare that data to other data sets to find possible correlation (or lack thereof). Compare gas prices to presidential approval ratings or UFO sightings to iPod sales. Track your page views against weather reports in Silicon Valley. See if something interesting occurs.

Swivel [Techcrunch]

[Michael] Arrington, the force behind and a self-proclaimed YouTube fan, was dumbfounded yesterday when the company sent him a cease-and-desist letter.
YouTube’s attorneys claim he aids people in making unauthorized copies of videos posted on YouTube’s site.
The charge is ironic considering YouTube is struggling with similar issues. The company has said it complies with copyright laws and removes unauthorized clips when notified, but users continue to post clips from popular TV shows and music videos without permission.


  • 09 Nov 2006 at 10:09 AM
  • Google

The Great YouTube Flattening

The rise of YouTube from nowhere to being one of the most popular sites on the web is the biggest start-up story of the year. But is the rise of YouTube over? Over on the Alexa Web Discovery Machine blog, Geoffrey Mack has posted the graph above. It clearly shows that YouTube’s traffic growth flatlined—at least according to the mysterious and not necessarily accurate Alexa metrics—in October.
Mack adds, “It started going flat on October 9th. Anybody care to guess what happened on that date?”
YouTube Goes Flat [Alexa-Web Discovery Machine]