Sunday, November 19, 2006

Universal vs. Rupert. Another Umair Haque play-of-the-week gets owned by the copyright holder.

Oh my God, Universal Music must be laughing in their socks at News Corp's refusal to continue negotiations on MySpace copyright infringements.

It used to be asset light startups like Kazaa and puny little sole-users. Now they have Rupert Murdoch -the man who set the entire model for locking up content when he went after the world's major football leagues and then used that content as the basis for the growth of his satellite empire - firmly in their gunsights.

Those lonesome Kazaa founders settled for $115M, but MySpace is way out there in terms of users (over the magic number, hence the key reason it is popular) and has a rich sugardaddy just sitting there waiting to be taken to the cleaners.

I asked Umair some weeks ago how he would demonstrate that YouTube could survive without access to copyrighted content owned by someone else, and the exact same question pops for MySpace. YouTube sensibly settled for a chunk of equity. News Corp will settle too, but I'm betting the sums are going to be a hunky chunk of change that will put the valuation of MySpace into severe context...

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