• The Only Topic Anyone I Talked to This Week Cared About

    Was of course Viacom's $1 billion suit against Google. I must say, all eyes are riveted on this one. My take is that it's hard to believe there isn't a business deal to be made between these two companies that wouldn't be better for both than having the lawyers slugging it out.

    Sure YouTube traffic is up since pulling down many of the Viacom clips, but really what does that prove except that YouTube's rapid growth rate can compensate for these kinds of hiccups? For YouTube to maintain its position as the ultimate video destination, it can't afford to have gaps in its clips springing up here and there. So it should be motivated to make a deal, not just with Viacom, but with all big media companies.

    As for Viacom, it's inconceivable to me that they are better off not being a part of YouTube. Exhibit A is the free promotion and exposure The Daily Show has received over the last year from YouTube. Viacom's going to have to lock a muzzle on Jon Stewart to prevent him from lambasting his corporate parent's decision.

    None of us knows how courts will interpret the DMCA in this case. The legal scholars' comments I've followed this week certainly don't form a consensus. So I continue to believe, as I wrote about last November ("Big Media's Most Vexing Challenge"), that big media companies' traditional copyright control mentalities are causing them to underoptimize their broadband opportunities. The sooner they loosen their traditional copyright approaches, the sooner they'll be able to fully exploit broadband's potential.