BusinessWeek on YouTube: `Whose Video Is It, Anyway?'
While YouTube promises huge distribution, the site and its users are just starting to sort out how to apportion the power they've suddenly acquired. Some indies are becoming wary of YouTube, which doesn't share ad dollars with them, unlike rival services. "The exposure is great, but with all the copyright issues and the lack of potential ad revenues, it seems like something that we're not going to get into right now," says Orrin Zucker, co-creator of It's JerryTime, a popular animated cartoon series that is shown, for now, on the artists' own site.
Tur's lawsuit shows the fine line that YouTube is walking as it attempts to build its business model. [Photographer Robert] Tur is suing because his videos of the [1992 Los Angeles] riot and other events were uploaded without his permission. Although lawyers agree that YouTube should be protected by copyright law as long as it responds to content owners' requests to take down their works, it entered uncharted territory when it recently began adding ads next to search results.
Interesting data point: the guys who made the popular Mentos and Diet Coke video, in Maine, earned $30,000 from Revver -- but they believe they could've made twice as much, had the video not been posted without their permission to YouTube.