It seemed that nothing could slow down YouTube, the online-video upstart bought by Google ( GOOG) last year for $1.65 billion.

YouTube has thrived against all odds and despite predictions of its imminent demise. Observers thought it would be smothered under Google, that it would no longer be seen as a trendy venue for posting and watching videos.

Others predicted certain doom as big content owners sued the deep-pocketed Google for posting unauthorized snippets of their programming.

In the nearly four months since the buyout was announced, none of this has hurt YouTube. Traffic on the site continues to steam steadily upward, according to Alexa.com. Media giants are talking with Google about revenue sharing.

Google even rolled YouTube into its own video search, but rather than hurting YouTube, it's provided a superior way to search its sprawling video inventory.

Last week, 20th Century Fox subpoenaed YouTube for names of users who posted clips of its television shows 24 and The Simpsons. But so far, this has hardly caused the scare that critics predicted. And in the Kabuki world of media copyrights, where tough actions are often gestures aimed at another agenda, the move could be aimed at giving News Corp. ( NWS) leverage over revenue sharing.

YouTube could still suffer a crippling lawsuit, but for now at least, that seems much less of a threat than a decision that seems to be coming from inside YouTube itself: Over the weekend, company founder Chad Hurley said the video site would start sharing revenue with users. Blogger Jeff Jarvis broke the news in a clip that is hosted, appropriately enough, over at YouTube .

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