Entertainment/Internet Execs Discuss Viacom Lawsuit

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Executives in the entertainment and Internet industries met yesterday at the Digital Media Summit in Hollywood to discuss the future of digital media. As expected, media conglomerate Viacom’s bombshell $1 billion dollar copyright lawsuit against Google-owned video sharing site YouTube dominated Tuesday afternoon’s panel discussion of online video sharing.

Yesterday, the first day of the summit, Viacom filed a complaint against Google saying that YouTube illegally allowed more than 160,000 of the media company’s copyrighted videos to appear on the site. Viacom is currently seeking $1 billion in compensation.

The panelists were split about whether Viacom was a champion of copyright issues or whether the lawsuit was simply a negotiating ploy to get a better content-sharing deal out of YouTube. But they all agreed that large copyright holders are gradually losing control of their content.

“Remember that the movie industry was 100 percent opposed to home video the way it is today and home video is now its number-one source of revenue,” said panelist Alex Kanakaris, founder of Wi-Fi TV, according to an AFP article.

“I think part of the Viacom suit is about that they just don’t think the YouTube guys did anything except build a business on the backs of other people’s property,” added Douglas Warshaw, CMO of Motionbox. “If there is suddenly acceleration in something being watched, it is either very good or very naked.”

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