On YouTube JP and the Japanese entertainment biz

Very interesting news last week: YouTube Japan has officially launched, incl. six partnerships with major Japanese tech and content producers. From Japan Economy News & Blog:

Included in those business partnerships are satellite broadcaster Sky PerfecTV, social networking giant Mixi, Yoshimoto Kogyo, animator GDH, and Casio. Casio intends to build cameras specially-made for creating content that can be uploaded directly to You Tube [sic].

This is a killer move for Mixi, and a very interesting step in thus far rather undiscovered terrain for Casio. (Lesson for Sony: increasing compatibility is also an option if you want a piece of the video sharing cake; you don’t have to buy or create a complete video sharing site for that.)

But of course, not everybody’s happy. A coalition of Japanese television, music and film companies has expressed its anger about YouTube’s undertakings and even asked to “reset the service.”

Of course the industry’s anger with anything disruptive is nothing new. A quick roundup about its stance with regard to YouTube:

  • 2006-10: JASRAC demands YouTube to take down 30,000 allegedly infringing clips; YouTube complies. It is the first time YouTube takes down so many videos in one swoop.
  • 2006-12: JASRAC sends a letter to YouTube asking it, among other things, to proactively check for infringements and show copyright warnings in Japanese.
  • 2007-01: JASRAC announces it wants a centralized “portal site” for rights information, so as to easily identify the author(s) of a work and facilitate licensing. Although this sounds good in theory, such a system would obviously strengthen JASRAC’s case for a first-ask-then-upload model. As cherry on the cake, JASRAC demands 20 years of extra protection for copyrighted works in exchange for being so benevolent (cfr. its announced “portal site”).
  • 2007-02: YouTube shows Japanese copyright warnings to Japanese YouTube users.
  • 2007-08: a few months after a Japanese YouTube UI was released, YouTube Japan officially launches.

So, who’s gonna win this fight? My bet is on the companies that have signed a deal with YouTube, or otherwise not discourage sharing of the media they produce.

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