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About this weblog
Here we'll explore the nexus of legal rulings, Capitol Hill policy-making, technical standards development, and technological innovation that creates -- and will recreate -- the networked world as we know it. Among the topics we'll touch on: intellectual property conflicts, technical architecture and innovation, the evolution of copyright, private vs. public interests in Net policy-making, lobbying and the law, and more.

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In the Pipeline: Don't miss Derek Lowe's excellent commentary on drug discovery and the pharma industry in general at In the Pipeline

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June 14, 2005

Obviously We're Not Using Enough of Google's Disk Space

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Posted by Alan Wexelblat

Google is getting into the video game. They've got a beta program going that lets you have an Uploader program designed to copy your content to their servers, where they will "host, cache, route, transmit, store, copy, distribute, perform, display, reformat, excerpt, analyze, and create algorithms based on the Authorized Content."

The key here is "reformat, excerpt, analyze" - Google clearly want to try out a bunch of algorithms that will let people search for videos and they need a huge pool of test content on which to try. That's what people will provide. This is pretty typical and expected Google behavior. But wait, there's more.

Check out Section 9 of the Terms of service

9. Payment. You may designate a price for playback of Your Authorized Content in the Uploading Form. In the event We decide in our sole discretion to charge for video playback of any of Your Authorized Content, We will pay to You seventy percent (70%) of the gross revenues, if any, recognized by Google and attributable to such video playback of Your Authorized Content based upon the price you designate. If We incur extraordinary costs and expenses in hosting, indexing and displaying Your Authorized Content relative to its designated price, then We may retain a greater percentage of the revenues in order to defray these costs. If You have not designated a price for Your Authorized Content and We incur extraordinary costs and expenses in hosting, indexing and displaying Your Authorized Content, we may charge a fee in order to defray these costs.

That's right, Google is hooking this into the micropayments marketplace. They've already got the mechanism to handle user micropayments in place with Google Answers so the extra cost to them of adding this feature into the video program is minimal. Seventy percent to the creator sounds like a good deal (anyone know of a place offering better terms?) particularly given Google's "reach" or ability to get very large audiences. Unlike a question, which has a very small audience only one or a few of whom pay, a video can be expected to appeal to thousands of Google's multi-million-per-day unique visitors. If even a few of those thousands are willing to pay, it could mean that videos generate some actual revenue. And if not, Google certainly has the disk space and bandwidth sitting idle. Discussions of 'Googlezon' have included speculations about uses for purchased dark fiber. Now we can see what at least some of it will be used for.

Comments (2) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: IP Use


COMMENTS

1. echillri on June 14, 2005 4:49 PM writes...

I agree that for those who do set a price, this sounds like a good deal, but I'd want to know what constitutes "extraordinary costs and expenses" for them. This agreement seems to leave me wide open to being charged for trying to give away my Authorized Content. Everyone assumes they've got bandwidth and disk space to spare, but that doesn't preclude them from charging for it.

I know that such a scenario would likely be "evil", and thus forbidden at Google, but I can't help feeling like their definition of that term is getting narrower as the IPO takes its toll.

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