I've been trying to figure out how YouTube managed to surpass video-sharing sites like Break.com, despite arriving to the market far later. Then it occured to me what may already be obvious to you. Most video sites are searchable television stations… putting the visitor in command to find video that appeals.
YouTube, however, is a giant conference call. It's made up of video posters watching and commenting on other video posters. They're connected, they have popularity (or lack of), and they react to each other. YouTube has recently launched the ability to send a video reaction to someone's video (instead of just leaving a comment). It's closer to MySpace in the social networking aspect. And it's what people want out of online video.
So despite previous posts, I think there will be a future for YouTube after the "wild west" era of copyright protection ends. It won't be as dramatic, but it will be there.
Interestingly, though, some of the popular video creators of YouTube are starting to migrate their content to other channels that give them income. For instance, YouTube idol, Morbeck, began posting on Revver.com (a site that gives creators half of the revenue generated by ad clicks). Others (like ZeFrank) are posting via Revver and asking people not to post it on YouTube or other online video sites.