Last week I saw links to Jason Calcanis's post YouTube is not a real business which I didn't read at the time because I wasn't that familiar with YouTube. However, over the past few days I've been watching a ton of videos on the site including the MySpace movie. I have to say I totally agree with what Jason Calcanis wrote below

4. YouTube is not a real business (or an innovative business). This is my main point. Let's not look at YouTube's page views and claim they are some amazing business. Napster and Kazaa had a ton of traffic too--it just wasn't web-based. If you could do an Alexa graph of Kazaa, BitTorrent, Usenet, and the old Napster they would be number one through four on Alexa!

Watching DIGG, Engadget, and MySpace climb in the rankings? Those are real businesses. If those sites added the ability to distribute stolen video in two clicks they would shoot up to the top 10 sites!

Let me break it down: YouTube and other video hosting sites have made it easy to pirate stuff on the web (which is where piracy started), but they shouldn't be positioned as some revolutionary business.

Like the original Napster, YouTube seems to be primarily about making money off of copyright infringement. A lot of the most popular videos don't seem to be have been uploaded by copyright holders unlike other video services like MSN Video or Google Video.

What I wonder is whether copyright infringement lawsuits will eventually shut them down or they'll end up getting both by a major player before that happens. They definitely have become a good brand and they do have some skills when it comes to scaling a popular service [although the server seems to be giving me HTTP 500 errors this morning]. It would be a shame for them to end up like Napster did.