A Faux Fracas over Time Warner and YouTube

October 23, 2006 0

Warner exec says talks about content rights that began with YouTube will continue with its new owner.
Time Warner CEO Dick Parsons is negotiating with YouTube to deal with the problem of videos that infringe his company’s copyrights, and now that Google’s buying the video-sharing site, Parsons says he is going to move those negotiations to his company’s partner, which owns a 5 percent stake in Time Warne’s AOL unit.

“You can assume we are in negotiations with YouTube and that those negotiations will be kicked up to the Google level in the hope that we can get to some acceptable position,” Parsons told The Guardian.


Web search leader Google said it has agreed to acquire YouTube for $1.65 billion in stock.

The acquisition will give Google a foothold in the emerging market for video advertising, but it also stands to inherit court challenges from independent film makers, bands, television studios and others who may chafe at YouTube users uploading copyrighted material to the site without permission.

Legal experts said these artists and companies could look to YouTube’s new deep-pocket backer for payment, either in business deals or courtroom battles. Parsons denied his talks with YouTube had anything to do with this week’s developments, The Guardian reported.

"We were going to pursue it anyway," he said. "If you let one thing ignore your rights as an owner it makes it much more difficult to defend those rights when the next guy comes along." However, Parsons added, "We would like to have our content displayed on these platforms, but on a basis that it respects our rights as the owner of that content."

Google and Time Warner announced a deal at the end of last year whereby Google would invest $1 billion in Time Warner’s AOL in return for a 5 percent stake in the unit and amongst other things said they would collaborate on an online video offering.