October 9, 2006

Convergence — And A Deep Pocket For © Infringement [5:14 pm]

Or is Google looking to ride the wave of next generation video content generation? And, if so, how certain are they that YouTube is that future? Google to Acquire YouTube for $1.65 Billion

“We are natural partners to offer a compelling media entertainment service to users, content owners and advertisers,” Eric Schmidt, Google’s chief executive, said in a statement.

Chad Hurley, a founder and chief executive of YouTube, said in the statement that his video site would benefit from Google’s “global reach and technology leadership to deliver a more comprehensive entertainment experience for our users and to create new opportunities for our partners.”

Related A Slippery Slope of Censorship at YouTube

Later: The LATimes’ Google Bets Big on Videos - pdf

Legal concerns were a likely reason that, before Google announced the acquisition Monday, YouTube unveiled licensing deals with the world’s two largest music labels, Universal Music Group and Sony BMG Music Entertainment, as well as with CBS Corp. The deals clear the way for music videos, television news, sports clips and entertainment programs to be distributed free on YouTube in exchange for a share of whatever advertising revenue may follow.

Also Adding On to the House of Google

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A French Protest [10:08 am]

Their Crime: Playing iTunes on Devices Not Named iPod

In mounting their protest, members of the group in Paris saw themselves as foot soldiers of the digital generation battling against ever-tighter controls over songs, film and all digitized culture.

Greeted at the police station by almost as many armed riot police officers as there were protesters, they explained their infractions to passers-by.

“Not only did I not use an iPod to listen to an iTunes song, but I transferred the film ‘Blade Runner’ onto my hand-held movie player,” Mr. Martinez, 28, said. “I am willing to face the consequences of what they consider an offense.”

By his own calculation, Mr. Martinez could face a fine of as much as 41,250 euros, or about $52,000, and six months in prison.

Mr. Martinez patiently laid out the case he built against himself, offering details about his infractions, which included switching music from one format to another and transferring the DVD’s to different players.

“They say the law is intended to stop piracy, but I am not a pirate,” Mr. Martinez said. “I support artists with legally purchased works, but I do not want to be forced to use a particular device to play them.”

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