Yle vs. YouTube

Finnish Broadcasting Company goes after their rights
Author: Jani 'Japala' Pönkkö
Published: 12.10.2006


Copyright issues have always been a hot topic. As long as there are companies that release material and hold rights for it, there are people who either knowingly or by mistake distribute it without permission. Internet has made this phenomenon to grow even bigger as it seems that there are people that just don't care if the material is free for sharing or not. In some parts it seems to be a race where people fight to be the first to release the illegal material for others to see, use and redistribute.

Making the move

I'm sure that the news of Google buying YouTube have reached the majority of the internet community by now. Most of us see a lot of good in this deal between these two companies. So does the Director of Corporate Affair's, Jussi Tunturi from Finnish Broadcasting Company YLE.

Oct. 11, 2006; YLE announced that they are looking into illegal programme use on YouTube. According to Tunturi, YLE will start a dialog between YouTube but the possibility of legal actions in the U.S. court is not out of the question. To make the matter more interesting, it might be possible that there would be several Finnish broadcasting companies acting together on this matter. For example MTV3 and Nelonen were mentioned as companies who's material have been featured on YouTube without permission from the right owners.

Google Inc.

  • Stock: GOOG
  • Y/Y Growth rate: 77% (Q2 2006)
  • Over 5600 employees (dec. 31, 2005)
  • Founded: 1998 by Larry Page and Sergey Brin
  • Tracking down the individuals who have posted this illegal material, including clips of YLE's most popular comedy series, can be tricky if not even possible. It is most likely that the shared clips are copied from medias like DVD packs related to the programmes.

    Tunturi speculates that even the combined power of Google and YouTube can not threat the popularity of the established TV media. "Perhaps in the future. In the year 2015 the terrestial broadcasting will still be mainstream and around 10% of the material could be transferred by other means. Before YouTube could threat anyone, it must have its own production or distribution contracts. Current situation is more or less illegal."

    It is interesting to notice that while YLE makes these statements, they are still not ruling out the possibility to use YouTube as a media to promote their future programming. For example a Finnish operator SubTV have promoted their new comedy series Ketonen & Myllyrinne via YouTube.


  • Trade: 374,5 M€ (2005)
  • Over 3500 employees (final q 2005)
  • Founded: 1926
  • So, what will be the reactions inside Google and YouTube regarding these claims? As YLE and other broadcasting companies involved, clearly hold the copyrights for the material, will YouTube just remove the content from their site? I see why not as there is little to loose by doing that. As the content is not their's to begin with, why make a big deal out of it? And while it seems that it would not be that difficult task to get YouTube to remove the material, why make so much noise about it? Perhaps YLE feels that this could be a good bargaining tool when discussing about the size and style of the promotion package of these TV shows inside YouTube in the future. One thing is sure; other broadcasting companies will follow the example if the outcome of these talks are favourable to YLE and other companies that will join in to this first round. Perhaps it was a due time to see what one can do about illegal distribution of copyrighted material on YouTube.

    YLE News - Google - YouTube  ]

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