Spreading money

Viacom sues Google over YouTube for a cool billion bucks and Jeff Jarvis is predictably upset:

I’ve been reading Viacom’s boneheaded $1 billion complaint against YouTube. Viacom complains about YouTube but, in truth, they’re complaining about their own viewers. They whine about theft but, in fact, they’re whining about recommendation, about their audience finding them more audience. Viacom is trying, singlehandedly, to turn the TV industry into the music industry. They are trying to spread stupid.

Let me suggest another point of view. I believe Viacom is upset over the fact that the TV programming they produce has been appropriated by another company for the purpose of substituting the other company’s ads for Viacom’s. Viacom depends on ad sales to cover the costs of production and delivery of their programming, and when their shows end up on YouTube, Google makes all the money for the ads they sell alongside Viacom’s programming. Presumably, if Google were willing to equitably share their ad revenues with Viacom this case would never have done to court.

So who’s entitled to this ad revenue, Google or Viacom? And who’s “spreading stupid” here?

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