Space Ramblings

Viacom Whines and Moans about Google

Viacom Inc.’s president and CEO took a swipe at Google Inc.’s announcement earlier this week of plans to launch a video-blocking tool aimed at allowing content owners to intercept copyrighted clips as they are uploaded to Google’s video site YouTube.

Viacom is one of several companies that announced Thursday a new principle aimed at supporting filtering technology to ward off copyright violations.

“The timing of the [Google] announcement is interesting,” Dauman said. “They knew about the announcement we made today. Google is a very high quality company [with] a lot of very, very smart people. They can do things very quickly when they want to. I guess they haven’t wanted to until this point.”

Obviously Dauman hasn’t been paying attention because YouTube has been talking about the copyright protection system for months now as it’s been in development. Does Dauman seriously believe that Viacom unveiled a new proposal today and Google cracked its whip and right away the smart people cranked up a new technology standard to fight copyright clips being uploaded? Can Dauman really be that stupid? Considering that this is Viacom, who knows.

Viacom’s Philippe Dauman said at the Web 2.0 Summit here that instead of a proprietary system to block content that may infringe on copyright, there needs to be an industry standard for that type of effort. Viacom joined with The Walt Disney Co., NBC Universal, Microsoft Corp., CBS Corp. and other companies to endorse the new principles.

“They reflect the fact that there ought to be a filtering system in place on the part of technology companies,” he noted. “Most responsible companies have followed that path. What no one wants is a proprietary system that benefits one company. It is a big drain to a company like ours to have to deal with incompatible systems.”

What exactly is this “standard”, the fact that Microsoft is the only prominent technology company listed suggests we’ve got another Microsoft standard here, which means all any sane people can do is laugh at the chumps who’ve signed on to a Microsoft standard.

Services are unique. Right now YouTube has a working standard. Dauman and Microsoft have a hypothetical standard that they’ve yet to implement.

Dauman also provided some behind-the-scenes Silicon Valley insight into the lawsuit it filed against Google, noting that he had many calls from Silicon Valley companies — which he declined to name — “who said it’s about time somebody took a stand.

Who are these mysterious companies exactly? Possibly they’re hard to name because they don’t exist.

Viacom Thursday will be unveiling a new Web site that will have access to all of the 13,000 clips of the The Daily Show With Jon Stewart produced since the show’s inception in 1999 along with social networking features like RSS feeds and widgets, Dauman said. The company plans to make more of its content available directly to consumers in this way, he added.

“We believe in following the consumers,” he said. “Our core business, our only business is creating great content. Our objective is to distribute our content and create a richer, more engaging experience for our consumers.”

Actually Viacom is following pretty much every other media company on earth, unveiling a new website after a decade of ignoring the issue and letting everyone have a field day with Bit Torrent and YouTube.

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