Print 48 comment(s) - last by excrucio.. on Aug 3 at 3:41 AM

Wants to prove more people watch The Daily Show than homemade cat videos

As part of its $1 billion lawsuit against user-video site YouTube, Viacom will receive a complete log of all users’ activities, which will include a list of usernames, IP addresses, and videos that each account has viewed in the past.

Viacom says it wants to use the data to prove that copyright-infringing videos draw higher amounts of traffic than user-generated and fully-legal content. If Viacom’s hypothesis turns out to be true, it could increase penalties against YouTube if found liable for contributory copyright infringement.

The court order to turn over site logs came as part of a sweeping request by Viacom, where it attempted to acquire source code for the site’s search engine and copyright video filter – which YouTube wrote as the result of previous litigation with copyright holders – as well as copies of YouTube parent Google’s advertisement database schema, and copies of all videos on the site marked “private.” U.S. District Judge Louis Stanton, who is presiding over the case in New York, struck down Viacom’s other requests.

YouTube will, however, also have to produce information on how private videos are viewed, including information on who watched them and how many times.

Google argued that revealing site logs – 12 terabytes in total and the sole source of information for video view counts – would constitute a massive breach of user privacy and place an undue burden on the company, who would need to vet the data for relevant information. Stanton called these claims “speculative,” and in denying them noted that site logs could be copied onto a handful of “over-the-shelf four-terabyte hard drives.”  He agreed with Google, however, in their claims that turning over copies of site’s search engine source code, the “product of over a thousand person-years of work,” noting that such an order could do “catastrophic competitive harm” to the company.

CNet notes that Viacom v. Google is about more than a copyright complaint -- with Google’s frequent invocation of the DMCA’s safe harbor defense, one of the most lauded, fundamental rules of the oft-maligned Digital Millennium Copyright Act may be at stake.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation argues that, under federal law, courts may not request personally identifiable information unless it is absolutely necessary – which may be beyond the bounds of Viacom’s investigation. Either way, the requestor is obligated to notify consumers beforehand, and allow them a chance to contest the claim.

“Today’s court order made no finding that Viacom could not be accommodated by any other means, nor were the YouTube users provided with notice and an opportunity to contest the claim,” said the EFF. Instead, it writes, Stanton referred to a Google blog entry, where the company says that it believes IP addresses cannot identify users, and used Google’s own logic against it.

Viacom originally launched its lawsuit in 2007, where it alleged that YouTube users viewed over 160,000 unauthorized clips of Viacom property. The company believes that YouTube’s business model is “based on building traffic and selling advertising off of unlicensed content,” and it demanded a court injunction to stop it.

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

MAkes sense to me
By Spivonious on 7/3/2008 8:14:08 AM , Rating: 1
Google doesn't even need to supply IPs, they just need to group the data by user; that's all Viacom is interested in. I don't think there's a privacy issue here at all. They could just say "User 23102 watched 65% illegal videos."

With that said, I don't know how YouTube could do a better filtering job than they already do.

RE: MAkes sense to me
By nemrod on 7/3/2008 9:15:02 AM , Rating: 2
Viacom doesn't trust google so if google modify the log how could it be a proof?

RE: MAkes sense to me
By Solandri on 7/3/2008 12:49:33 PM , Rating: 2
They could just say "User 23102 watched 65% illegal videos."

The problem comes in defining "illegal videos". Viacom and the *AA don't believe in or hold a very narrow definition of fair use rights such as excerpting, mixing, and satire. They'd probably classify any short clip as "illegal", as well as any music video mix combining scenes from commercial videos with a commercial song. They'd probably also flag out of spite anything that spoofed one of their works, even though satire probably has the strongest protection.

RE: MAkes sense to me
By Nik00117 on 7/3/2008 2:24:58 PM , Rating: 2
If thats the case then i've prob violated copyright, i've produced videos in the post and I'll be the first to admit I'm not scared of using a 15 second clip from a movie. Sure i'm not going blast the entire thing up there but sometimes those scenes just fit and you ahve to use them.

I really hate companies like VIACOM, the industry needs to come this conclusion.

Life isn't how it used to be, information freely flows and if we want to keep pace we gotta jump in. They have to play by our rules, and eventually they will.

RE: MAkes sense to me
By Hiawa23 on 7/3/2008 3:22:46 PM , Rating: 2
call me stupid, but can someone tell what constitutes illegal videos, cause most of us just log on Youtube & watch whatever comes to mind without even thinking about if this is illegal. Besides, it aint like you can watch porn & stuff on there, right or no..

RE: MAkes sense to me
By vapore0n on 7/7/2008 9:35:37 AM , Rating: 2
Illegal would be any video that use any type of copyrighted media without permission from the author.

So that video if you dancing while playing a song in the background could be illegal under the copyright terms. Or using that 15 second clip of a movie.
I know, stupid but that's the way they wrote them.

Heard of the case where this jiffy lube place had CD playing in the speakers and they got sued for "illegal broadcast" and lost to RIAA?

RE: MAkes sense to me
By 4wardtristan on 7/9/2008 11:11:23 PM , Rating: 2 can watch pr0n on youtube..

"If you can find a PS3 anywhere in North America that's been on shelves for more than five minutes, I'll give you 1,200 bucks for it." -- SCEA President Jack Tretton
Related Articles
Viacom Sues Google for $1 Billion
March 13, 2007, 2:27 PM

Most Popular Articles5 Cases for iPhone 7 and 7 iPhone Plus
September 18, 2016, 10:08 AM
Laptop or Tablet - Which Do You Prefer?
September 20, 2016, 6:32 AM
Update: Samsung Exchange Program Now in Progress
September 20, 2016, 5:30 AM
Smartphone Screen Protectors – What To Look For
September 21, 2016, 9:33 AM
Walmart may get "Robot Shopping Carts?"
September 17, 2016, 6:01 AM

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki