Let's all go sue YouTube
So Viacom (NYSE:VIA) finally did it. Shortly after bolting from the negotiating table with Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) YouTube, it decided to sue the popular video-sharing site. I get it. YouTube has done a sorry job of keeping copyright-protected clips off its site.

However, I'll tell you what I don't get:

  • Viacom's complaint alleges that Google and YouTube "profit handsomely from the infringement," but is YouTube even profitable to begin with? YouTube's Chad Hurley conceded that the site wasn't profitable just before Google's buyout last year, and there just don't seem to be enough ads on the site to offset the bandwidth overhead at the moment.
  • I've seen some of Viacom's shows on Comedy Central air clips from YouTube. Does the infringement cut both ways?
  • Viacom's spinoff twin CBS (NYSE:CBS) issued a press release back in November indicating that its presence on YouTube has actually boosted ratings.
  • Viacom's WebJunk.TV website is loaded with embedded YouTube videos, many of them apparently trampling on the intellectual capital of non-Viacom networks.

This doesn't mean I think Viacom doesn't have a case here. Seth Jayson is behind Viacom all the way on this one. Viacom can argue that CBS has chosen to upload its own clips on the site, controlling the "clip culture" flow. YouTube has clearly been dragging its feet in policing its site and providing foolproof solutions.

This may be the most important legal battle of the year. OK, maybe it will be a close second to the paternity battle over Dannielynn. Watch it anyway, because the fates of a lot of different media and Internet companies are at stake here.

Brother, can you spare a subprime?
The market's swoon on Tuesday was tied to further weakness in subprime lenders. Accredited Home Lenders (NASDAQ:LEND) announced that it was going through a cash crunch, and related players like NovaStar Financial (NYSE:NFI) went along for the slide.

But let me tell you when I knew we were in trouble: I went over to consumer-to-consumer lending site Prosper.com, and I saw a featured listing for someone trying to take out a loan to lend to others on Prosper!

I've been watching Prosper from a distance. I love the concept. I think it's just a matter of time before eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY) buys it out. But when you see that kind of speculative fanaticism on the site, you start feeling like condo flippers and penny-stock traders are the sane ones.

Until next week, I remain,

Rick Munarriz

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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz recommends windshield wiper fluid when trying to look back. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.