YouTube to Be Google’s Tube?

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Google Friday was reported to be talking with YouTube about buying the start-up video-sharing site for $1.6 billion.

In online fashion, the search giant's interest in fast-growing YouTube was first discussed on a blog at the TechCrunch Web site (www.techcrunch.com), then reported by The Wall Street Journal, whose report was in turn cited by TechCrunch as its news source.

Google, which launched its Google Video service one year ago, has seen its own efforts at encouraging Web denizens to upload short movies, commercials and other clips they create fall short of YouTube.

The San Mateo, Calif.-based enfant terrible of video made uploading and watching video both easy and commonplace. Users now upload more than 65,000 videos per day and watch 100 million video streams daily, as well.

But much of the content can trample on the intellectual-property rights of video programmers such as NBC, which famously got YouTube to pull videos off its site of a sketch that appeared on Saturday Night Live.

Mark Cuban -- who sold his video site, Broadcast.com, to Yahoo! in 1999 for more than $5 billion -- said, “The minute that acquisition took place, YouTube couldn't be YouTube,” another Web site, PaidContent.org (www.paidcontent.org), reported from the Online News Association conference in Washington, D.C.

Google declined comment. A YouTube representative had not returned a call asking for comment by press time.

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