With Viacom incubating "the biggest copyright lawsuit in history" against YouTube, the video-sharing site is beginning to smell a bit like Napster. Which leads Clive Thompson to ponder in New York why the Google boys decided to acquire YouTube—and its looming crisis—last year. And why, once they had, they decided to stare down Sumner Redstone instead of sharing revenue.
Thompson opines that Google's provocative decision was based on "nerd logic," the belief "that smart ideas deserve to trump dumb ones," and that established rules of intellectual property shouldn't interfere with the free flow of ideas--or in this case, comedy. What will come of the suit? Both Google and Viacom might actually benefit from a truce that would keep the legality of YouTube fuzzy, Thompson argues.