Universal may sue YouTube, MySpace

Posted by Mark Raby

According to a report from Market Watch, Universal Music Group may be suing YouTube and MySpace for copyright infringement. The sites, which allow users to share videos and music to millions of people, currently provide access to copyrighted multimedia content without the consent of the copyright holders.

According to Market Watch, the CEO of Universal's music division, Doug Morris, allegedly called YouTube a "copyright infringer" and claimed that tens of millions of dollars in royalties were owed. In many ways, sites like YouTube have become the "new" Napster, which came under fire several years ago for its peer-to-peer-based music downloading and sharing client.

This is not a new issue for YouTube. A handful of media companies have ordered the video sharing site to remove clips from users who have illegally posted their content. For example, YouTube had to take down all Saturday Night Live and late-night talk show clips from NBC. Now the Universal Music Group is taking aim at YouTube. Notably, NBC and Universal Music Group are both part of the same company.

YouTube claims that it always been accommodating to companies who want illegally posted content removed, but sometimes before that happens, the videos have already been up for months. NBC Universal recently said is working with YouTube to implement a framework that would prevent content not owned by the user to ever be posted.

The wildly popular MySpace social networking site has a dedicated music channel, which was created for amateur musicians to share their own music with other users. Because of the rapid growth of the site, famous artists, like Weird Al, have also posted their latest tracks on MySpace. However, this has also led to more illegal music sharing among Internet users, even without a MySpace account.

The digital age has become a double-edged sword for video and music companies. On one hand, there is this big issue with piracy. However, on the other hand, the online video and music on-demand industry is exponentially growing, most recently accented by the debut of Amazon's Unbox digital video store.