Feeds

Viacom suit is Net killer, Google claims

Hey guys, this is what DMCA was made for

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications

Viacom's copyright infringement lawsuit against YouTube threatens the way that hundreds of millions of people use the internet, YouTube owner Google has said in its court defence.

YouTube is accused by media conglomerate Viacom of copyright infringement in a $1bn court case that could prove a vital testing ground for the legal basis of businesses grounded in user-submitted content.

Google said that it not only complies with US copyright law, but that it goes "far beyond" its legal obligations in the way that it protects content producers and owners.

Viacom is suing YouTube in a New York court for copyright infringement, alleging that YouTube profits from the videos it hosts that infringe its copyright.

Viacom owns television stations such as Comedy Central, MTV and Nickelodeon, and says that YouTube is liable for copyright infringement even when it is users who publish clips from its shows via the site.

Google says that YouTube is protected by US Copyright law which shields it from liability if it did not publish the material and if it acts swiftly to take it down once informed of its existence.

Viacom sought more than $1bn in punitive damages, despite the copyright legislation only allowing actual or statutory damages. The court ruled in March that it could not seek punitive damages.

Its suit claims that Viacom-owned videos have been viewed more than 1.5 billion times, breaching the US's Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

Google denies that it has broken that law. In fact it claims that the law was written with services such as YouTube in mind.

"Viacom’s lawsuit challenges the protections of the DMCA that Congress enacted a decade ago to encourage the development of services like YouTube," said Google in its defence, lodged with the court. "Congress recognized that such services could not and would not exist if they faced liability for copyright infringement based on materials users uploaded to their services. It chose to immunize these services from copyright liability provided they are properly responsive to notices of alleged infringement from content owners."

"YouTube fulfills Congress’s vision for the DMCA. YouTube also fulfills its end of the DMCA bargain, and indeed goes far beyond its legal obligations in assisting content owners to protect their works," said the court document.

The DMCA contains what is called a safe harbor provision, which is what protects companies from liability for material uploaded by third parties. It is this which Google believes will protect it.

Viacom, though, claims that Google deliberately ignores its obligations in order to turn a profit on advertising on pages.

"YouTube strategy has been to avoid taking proactive steps to curtail the infringement on its site, thus generating significant traffic and revenues for itself while shifting the entire burden – and high cost – of monitoring YouTube on to the victims of its infringement," said Viacom in its original claim.

"YouTube is a significant for-profit organisation that has built a lucrative business out of exploiting the devotion of fans to others' creative works in order to enrich itself and its corporate parent, Google. Their business model, which is based on building traffic and selling advertising off of unlicensed content, is clearly illegal," it said.

YouTube warns users as they upload material that they must have permission to do so, something which could help it defend itself in court. Both sides in the dispute have asked for a jury trial.

Google said in its court submission that the case could alter the very nature of the internet if it goes Viacom's way.

"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," it said.

Copyright © 2008, OUT-LAW.com

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

Using blade systems to cut costs and sharpen efficiencies

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple ran off to IBM
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Nadella: Apps must run on ALL WINDOWS – PCs, slabs and mobes
Phone egg, meet desktop chicken - your mother
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
Samsung threatens to cut ties with supplier over child labour allegations
Vows to uphold 'zero tolerance' policy on underage workers
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.