What is YouTube Worth Without the Copyrighted Material?
John Battelle picked up on some of the recent banter regarding YouTube's value, mentioning a NY Post report that YouTube could be worth $1 Billion. Battelle expresses similar concerns over the copyright issue (discussed previously on Technology Evangelist here) staring any potential acquirer in the face and asks the key question about a copyright-free YouTube: "what is YouTube worth then?"
John Battelle's Searchblog: YouTube Worth $1 BIllion? But Who Will Buy It?
So who might buy YouTube? A major entertainment company, like the ones mentioned in the Post piece? No way. That's buying a lawsuit or ten - if Time Warner bought YouTube, how long do you think it'd be before competitors sued to get their copyrighted stuff off TW's new service? And once that stuff is cleared off (YouTube does make a point of taking down copyrighted material when asked, but policing that massive service is not exactly a hand-rolled affair), what is YouTube worth then?
Should YouTube wipe out the copyrighted content to make themself more acquirable? Or, are they better off using the copyrighted material as bait to introduce more web users to YouTube so they can build a critical mass of non-copyrighted content creators?
Will a business risk acquiring YouTube as is, then removing copyrighted material, not knowing for sure what would remain of the service? Is that a $1 billion bet worth taking? Not likely.
OnlineIndie, that's the question anyone considering buying YouTube is trying to figure out. The 2nd and 3rd videos on this page break down what could be removed under strict copyright enforcement.