The fact that Youtube is building a traffic juggernaut around copyrighted audio and video without being sued is like.... well Napster at the beginning as the labels were trying to figure out what it meant to them. ... It's just a question of when Youtube will be hit with a charge of inducing millions of people to break copyright laws, not if.I like YouTube, don't get me wrong. I think they did a great job making it easy to upload and view videos on the Web.
Take away all the copyrighted material and you take away most of Youtube's traffic. Youtube turns into a hosting company with a limited video portal. Like any number of competitors out there that decided to follow copyright law.
But, I don't think ease of use is the reason most people use YouTube. I suspect most people go to YouTube to view copyright content. Nothing attracts an audience like giving away something that normally costs money for free.
Like Napster, YouTube probably owes much of its success to playing fast and loose with copyright law. Like Napster, they likely will find that it is not sustainable.
[Found via John Battelle]
Update: A nice follow-up post on this by Don Dodge.
Update: Another good post from Mark Cuban on YouTube. [via Don Dodge]