YouTube's "Mafia Shake Down"

According to CNNMoney, Google’s (GOOG) is only offering anti-piracy software to content owners who have a commercial deal with the huge video sharing site.

YouTube says that locating pirated material requires direct cooperation with the individual media companies, so perhaps it has a case. It can’t cooperate with companies that are not customers.

Sounds weak.

Companies like Viacom (VIA) liken the move by YouTube to blackmail. And, YouTube does not need to go any further to alienate media firms.

The prevailing wisdom is that media companies need YouTube to get promotion for their programs because YouTube’s audience is so large. But, a look at the most popular clips on YouTube does not turn up a lot of programming from “big media”.  There is a clip called Gladys Hardy on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, but it would not appear to be anything that viewers would pay for.

If media companies need promotion for their programming, YouTube is hardly their only option, and it may not be their best.

Douglas A. McIntyre can be reached at He does not own securities in companies that he writes about.