Blown To Bits

Viacom and Myspace Cut a Deal

Monday, November 3rd, 2008 by Harry Lewis

In a development that bears a family resemblance to the deal Google cut with the book publishing industry, Myspace has reached an agreement with one big part of the entertainment industry. Its users will be allowed to continue posting video clips from the Colbert Report and other TV shows without anyone getting hassled with DMCA takedown demands.

When the user posts a video, third-party software will identify it automatically, and place a visual tag on the clip, at the bottom of the screen. Advertising will be posted and the viewer will be given the opportunity to buy the whole episode. The revenue from the advertising and episode purchases will be split up among Viacom, Myspace, and the company that makes the software that identifies the videos. Everybody makes a little money (except, of course, the people who are doing the posting and the people who are doing the viewing!).

This deal is narrow — it affects only MySpace and Viacom. Google’s deal is broader — it is a deal with the group that represents publishers and authors — but the court hasn’t approved it yet. And of course, it covers only Google, not anyone else who might like to create a book search service. Do these deals show the outline of a more encompassing, public solution to the problems with DMCA and the Internet?

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