Feeds

Google asks court to dismiss Viacom suit

Floats 'safe harbour' defence

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Google has said it will defend itself against a $1bn lawsuit filed by media conglomerate Viacom and has asked a judge to throw the case out without a full trial.

Viacom is suing Google for copyright infringement over the posting of video clips on YouTube, which is owned by Google. Viacom owns television stations MTV, Comedy Central, and Nickelodeon and says in its suit that YouTube's business is built on copyright infringement.

Viacom filed the lawsuit in March and Google has just lodged its response. The search giant has demanded that the case be dismissed without a trial.

Google's defence rests on the "safe harbour" provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which protect a company from liability for copyright infringement if it is just the medium by which others post unlawful content.

The safe harbour rules protect a company as long as it takes down offending material "expeditiously" when it is notified about it. Google takes down infringing material from YouTube when contacted by copyright owners.

In its filing, Google says removing that protection would be disastrous for many internet companies. "By seeking to make carriers and hosting providers liable for internet communications, Viacom's complaint threatens the way hundreds of millions of people legitimately exchange information, news, entertainment, and political and artistic expression," the filing said.

Google's managing counsel for litigation told the New York Times newspaper that it had not discussed a settlement with Viacom and was not likely to. "We feel pretty confident about the case and are ready to take it to court," he said.

The case makes similar claims to a European newspaper case taken by Belgian trade body Copiepresse. Both cases allege that Google profits from making use of copyright material without permission as a matter of course, only taking material down when asked on a specific basis.

Both Copiepresse and Viacom believe the company should be made to ask permission ahead of using material and not wait to be told to stop after the fact. Copiepresse recently won a case in a Belgian court relating to the Google News service.

Viacom has said it believes that safe harbour protection is not available to YouTube, and that the site does not qualify for that protection. It says the company has knowledge of infringing material on its site and is profiting from it.

Content owners have called for YouTube and other sites on which copyrighted material is posted to develop filters to weed out copyright-protected content. Google has said in recent weeks that it has developed tools to help copyright owners to identify their material so that they can request that it be taken off of the site.

Copyright © 2007, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

Related links

Google's response at News.com (pdf)
Viacom's YouTube lawsuit could test limits of DMCA

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
DOUBLE BONK: Testy fanbois catch Apple Pay picking pockets
Users wail as tapcash transactions are duplicated
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Google Glassholes are UNDATEABLE – HP exec
You need an emotional connection, says touchy-feely MD... We can do that
YARR! Pirates walk the plank: DMCA magnets sink in Google results
Spaffing copyrighted stuff over the web? No search ranking for you
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.