Nailing copyright violators is a game of whack-a-mole. Digital technology from cellphones to TiVO to YouTube make it far too easy to capture and share digital content for the copyright police to stop it from happening. And there's no reason to do so - users who upload copyright content from TV are engaging in the large-scale, free viral marketing for this content.

So the YouTube deals with CBS, Warners, Universal and Sony are notable for two aspects:

- The labels are permitting users to perform mashups on copyright music video content.

- CBS may decline to force removal of its copyright content and simply place advertising on it.

Every marketer needs to know what consumers are interested in. Social networking sites are amazing engines for tracking exactly that. If you can get marketers running the show instead of lawyers and accountants, the world looks incredibly different.

The marketers in fact have already figured this out. I lost the article, but I saw a quote from a Sony marketing VP that said, "Users are interacting with our artists and product on YouTube and we need to be part of the conversation."

Get the full story at SiliconValleyWatcher