The Joost look and feel is being widely copied by others, even before the company officially launches.
Last week the second Joost look-alike popped up: DNAStream. Like the first Joost clone, created by Paul Yanez, it basically appropriates the Joost look and feel and presents it in a web browser through a Flash interface (Joost itself is available only as a download). Unlike Yanez’s version, DNAStream is presenting itself as a business and doesn’t talk about Joost at all. DNAStream is shown above on the right, next to Joost.
These copycats put Joost in a difficult position. The last thing they want to do is end up in a legal tangle. Most startups shy away from litigation anyway, but Joost may want to avoid lawsuits even more than usual – Founders Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis have gone through litigation hell because of Kazaa, the P2P file sharing service they created before Skype.
Will Joost eventually take steps to shut down copycat sites? DNAStream is probably just different enough to avoid a lawsuit (although there is lots of infringing content on the site that will catch the eye of copyright holders). Yanez’s site, which is a duplicate look and feel to Joost and clearly violates Joost trademarks as well as copyrights, remains up after being live for over a month (and he’s also created Babelgum and AppleTV look-alikes). Given the very positive reception it has received from bloggers and others, Joost may want to find a quiet way to eventually shut it down.