John Battelle's post on YouTube valuation and comments are interesting. My take is that the fact that people are arguing about risks to YouTube's business model make the risks real enough.
If I was in YouTube's shoes (I wish, hehe), I would adopt bartering to the business model in which content owners receives some adspace and/or some editorial control over pages that uses their copyrighted content.
Here are the two main reasons why I think YouTube can make this work:
- YouTube is free marketing resource to many copyrighted content owners. Clips from TV shows or movies promote the content just like TV and radio ads and movie trailers do. If done right, YouTube can even charge companies for YouTube service.
- Giving copyright owners some editorial control will ease their concerns over abuses like people posting full contents in pieces or spoiler clips that reveal key parts of newly released movie.
To implement this, YouTube will have to add automated IP claim processing service that automates most claims by managing risks through sampling and account rating while shifting much of the manual work to the claim submitters and clip posters. No, this won't be easy an easy job but IMHO doable.