However Time Warner is already threatening to sue over videos at YouTube. Presumably Google knew all this was coming and I’m guessing they think they can sweeten the advertising revenue pot enough to keep all the copyright hounds at bay. As the best monetizer of online content I think Google will be able to buy their way out of almost all the lawsuits simply by offering to either 1) remove the offending videos, which are currently making nothing or 2) monetize the content and give the copyright holder 70% of the revenues. In most cases Google’s 70% is going to be more than 100% of what the producer could get with their own efforts.
That said, many producers are going to see this as a great legal way to shoot for Google’s deep, deep pockets. They’ll have no interest in small payouts per download or ads or anything related to their own content, though they’ll disguise that in the complaints.
I’d be very interested to know how the Google team factored this cost into the YouTube equation.