Did Google buy YouTube as a defensive strategy, knowing that it might get sued, but that such a suit might prove essential to its survival?
But the third point is the most important for Google. If YouTube were to lose a lawsuit for hosting intellectual property, it would severely weaken Googleâ€™s position in a variety of current and future endeavors. Any aspirations Google has of some day crawling and indexing video content (nope, they donâ€™t have this technology yet) would now be in a legal limbo. It would also potentially re-introduce new arguments against their Google Image Search. And their book search program might suffer a similar fate once the YouTube precedent settles in. Google, being a company that spiders and indexes (stores) massive amounts of copyrighted information, would now be in serious legal jeopardy.
Think about how the web would change without search.
If courts were ever to decide that Google’s massive databases of stored content were a violation of copyright (even though what they actually serve up as a result set is just a slice of whats stored), then search as we know it would disappear. The net as we know it would be radically different. It would be a lot harder to find and share information. We would still have hyperlinks, and that’s important to the network economy, but search is what makes the web efficient.
(via John Battelle)