The DMCA is Good. Mark Cuban is Wrong.

Marc continues his anti-Google/Youtube arguments (see also, and also, and also).  He is so upset that his earlier predictions were wrong, that he can’t admit his error.  Overall, Mark claims that what Youtube is doing is illegal.  But, he’s talking through both sides of his mouth.

The fact is that Youtube is not breaking the law.  There is a law, called the DMCA, which specifically says that online service providers are not liable if their users upload copyrighted materials as long as the service provider promptly removes content when requested by the copyright holder.  This is exactly what Youtube does, and it is legal.  It’s the law.

You may not like the DMCA, but that is the law.  It’s legal, and there is no debate about it. 

Marc says that Youtube ought to be able to recognize which material is copyrighted as it is posted, and not allow the post to occur in the first place.  That might be doable, or that might not, (I don’t think it is realistic, and Marc has yet to propose an answer to that) but that is not relevant anyway.  The law has very clearly specified how service providers must deal with copyrighted content, and YouTube obeys the law.  

Marc knows this, stating that Youtube is “invoking Safe Harbor”.  There is no “invoking” here.  The law is clear about what service providers should do.  So how can he claim that this is illegal?  He obviously knows it is not.  He is just jealous or irrational or something.

Marc – if you don’t like the law, go write to your congressman.  Or better yet, get him a hooker and season tickets to the Mavs, and get him to change the law.  Keep in mind, however, that if you eliminate DMCA, you’ll not only take down YouTube, but you’ll take down MySpace, Facebook, Yahoo!, Hotmail, and hundreds of other sites.  The DMCA exists for a reason – and the DMCA allows most of us that don’t download or upload copyrighted  content still be able to benefit from a host of online services that otherwise couldn’t exist because they’d get sued to smithereens.

2 thoughts on “The DMCA is Good. Mark Cuban is Wrong.

  • March 4, 2007 at 1:00 pm

    thx for reading my blog . Some thoughts on your post.

    1. Since when are Google or Youtube service providers ? What service do they provide that they get paid for ? ISPs, Ebay and others that have used the safe harbor rules have a definable business and infringing content is a nuisance to them, not an opportunity. IN addition, they know who their users and customers are and when they upload infringing content, they have a means of turning over the infringer to the copyright owner.

    Google Video and Youtube don’t have a business model that represents anything that could be called a service provider. If they did, and everything was above board, why would they need or want to go out and sign content licensing agreements ?

    They are groveling for agreements because they know they are in trouble and without them they have no business.

    THe DMCA is far from perfect.It has more problems that it should, but it doesnt protect Google and the 200mm they set aside will not be enough

  • March 4, 2007 at 1:24 pm

    I’m ecstatic to have Marc comment on my tiny blog.

    But yes, Google is a service provider – Just like hotmail, yahoo, ebay, etc. It traffics unmodified user-contribed-content, and therefore is a service provider. Youtube doesn’t want unauthorized content on the site. That is why they quickly remove copyrighted material and also why they are getting legitimate deals with content providers – to make sure that illegal material is minimized.

    Given your stance on the whole thing, I’d think you’d be happy that they are proactively seeking deals with media companies.

    Ironically, we’re debating youtube, a site I never go to, because it contains nothing but crap! If it had good stuff (e.g. high-quality, easy-to-find, copyrighted material), I’d probably use it.


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