Even a chimp can write code

Sunday, February 04, 2007

...It is a duck

I noticed a very peculiar line in the article "Viacom Tells YouTube: Hands Off" in the New York Times:
Whether YouTube is stealing content by serving up clips of copyrighted programs is very much up for debate.

I wonder if the Times would take as measured and conciliatory a stand if its own Times Select content were served up on another site and read by thousands of visitors, accruing brand value for that site and ad revenue to boot, but with no tangible returns to the Times itself.

I think it is easy to take sides in most such issues because they seem to involve Joe Public on one side versus big companies, record labels and other Hollywood entities that haven't exactly been upstanding citizens, on the other. In this case, it’s a tussle between Viacom and Google: both big boys who are potty-trained and can take care of themselves. Either way, people lose sight of the content creator - who sometimes is an average guy without an army of lawyers at his disposal - and is the rightful owner of his creations. The content creator gets to choose how his content can be distributed or copied and enjoys the profits that arise from that creation. This is how capitalism works. If we love its benefits, we must be prepared to pay the price it asks.

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