Wednesday, March 22, 2006
Hollywood Freaked Out, Excited By YouTube
Hollywood has no idea what to do about YouTube, the website that has exploded in popularity by offering up illegal snippets of video, like that hilarious SNL rap video "Lazy Sunday." YouTube says they literally get threatened with lawsuits by one division of a studio while another is trying to partner with them on new releases. It's easy to say Hollywood should just sit back and enjoy the free publicity. (In truth, SNL only benefits when a skit is popular enough for people to seek it out and watch it.) But if you don't aggressively protect your copyright every time, ther law says you may be giving people a green flag to steal anything they want. One solution? Partner with YouTube to make the video clips available free for a short windown as a promotional stunt, then pull them. Smart studios will also offer them for free on their websites and ultimately offer them -- very, very cheaply -- for sale down the road. People would pay 50 cents to buy "Lazy Sunday" two weeks after it aired, even if it had been available to watch for free before that. As iTunes proves, make something dependable and cheap and people will happily buy it legally.