Three of the four major music companies — Vivendi’s Universal Music Group, Sony and Bertelsmann’s jointly owned Sony BMG Music Entertainment, and the Warner Music Group — each quietly negotiated to take small stakes in YouTube as part of video- and music-licensing deals they struck shortly before the sale, people involved in the talks said yesterday. The music companies collectively stand to receive as much as $50 million from these arrangements, these people said.
This payoff will certainly materialize faster than any potential compensation from a lawsuit would. But the possible catch -- doesn't part-ownership also entail liability for any future content-related lawsuits filed against YouTube?
Earlier this week, Universal sued video-sharing portals Grouper and Bolt, demanding 15 grand per infringement and telling the press:
"Grouper and Bolt... cannot reasonably expect to build their business on the backs of our content and the hard work of our artists and songwriters without permission and without compensating the content creators," a Universal spokesman said..
Yeah, I'm sure they're worried about 50 Cent appearing on a mini-YouTube or Mariah Carey being compensated (doesn't she have like a $20M contract)?
Last month it seemed Universal woke up thinking it was still 1999, only big mama RIAA is at bay (or, more likely, abusing the courts and/or high school kids).
Will there be more juicy details on this YouTube + Big 3 of 4 so-called partnership? Or is the new YouTube opaque?