Inside the chest of Megaphone Mark Cuban beats the heart of a frustrated journalist, I think. After all, not only has he started Sharesleuth.com, which does investigative journalism of a sort (which Mark gets to trade on before it is released to the public) but his latest post on the shadowy details of the Google-YouTube negotiations suggests that he knows a good story when he sees one — and is more than happy to pass it on regardless of whether it passes the smell test or not.
Okay, that isn’t really journalism, but it’s pretty close to what passes for the real thing in a lot of circles — including some newspapers I could name. And why not run with it? After all, Mark specifically said (without punctuation, for some unknown reason): “I cant say this has been fact checked. It hasnt. I cant say its 100 pct accurate, I dont know. But it rings true, and as I said, I trust the source.” Hey, if it’s good enough for Mark it should be good enough for us, right?
The only problem is that much of it doesn’t ring true. As it happens, I read the same description on the Pho list, and while some of it sounded perfectly plausible — the six-month grace period given to Google, the structuring of the deal with the music labels as equity so that they could avoid having to pay artists, and so on — I would have to agree with Don Dodge (who used to work at Napster) that the part about getting the labels to sue Bolt and Grouper to somehow take the heat off doesn’t make any sense at all.
Someone else on the Pho list had a similar response to the “industry insider’s” description of what happened: “I would say the bit about piling on lawsuits against competitors to YouTube is wildly unlikely as an agreed-upon strategy,” this knowledgeable person said. “If true, it is certainly unlawful and potentially criminal… and there are just too many good, smart lawyers at UMG, YouTube’s backers and at Google to permit that kind of arrogant lame-ass conduct to occur.”
Not only that, but this person pointed out that such lawsuits could easily wind up setting an unfortunate precedent for Google, which makes it even more unlikely they would support such a strategy. Still, aren’t conspiracy theories fun?