Is YouTube Looking More Like a Broadcaster?

Copyright stakes might jump with distribution deals through TV makers and TiVo.

TiVo logo

YouTube may be getting itself into new hot water with recent deals to send its videos directly to TVs, argues attorney Nancy Prager in her Reasonable Balance blog.

Vast troves of copyrighted material available on YouTube have drawn the ire of studios, networks, and other creators. The Google-owned site already faces a $1 billion suit led by Viacom that claims YouTube encourages illegal content.

A recent deal with TiVo, through which YouTube will stream videos to home TVs, will make it easier for consumers to find and enjoy YouTube's copyrighted content. It may also stir new legal challenges, including from broadcast regulators, Prager writes.

"Now, with its partnership with TiVo, YouTube looks more like a traditional broadcaster because it is going to stream its content on televisions," she says. "The lawsuits with Viacom and its coplaintiffs may just be the prelude to more complex litigation and regulation matters for YouTube."

Actually, the TiVo deal is just the latest of many to bring YouTube to TVs, including a year-old one with Apple TV. Sony, meanwhile, says it will stream YouTube videos directly to some of its TVs. No TiVo or Apple TV intermediary needed.


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