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

Catch 22
By sp00ns on 7/3/2008 11:45:55 AM , Rating: 2
In the EU it would be illegal to hand over such information as it would break EU privacy laws. It should be interesting to see how Google reconcile that with a US court order.

RE: Catch 22
By oab on 7/3/2008 1:18:59 PM , Rating: 2
You-Tube is a US company, incorporated in the US.

RE: Catch 22
By sp00ns on 7/3/2008 6:04:18 PM , Rating: 2
And that's the problem. They will be breaking EU law to fulfill a US court order. Will the EU fine them for breaking privacy laws? Microsoft is also a US company, incorporated in the US and the EU has imposed some mega fines upon them, over $600 million in one case. Maybe Google intends to stop operating in the EU?(or maybe a $600 million fine is pocket money to them)

RE: Catch 22
By xRyanCat on 7/3/2008 6:26:11 PM , Rating: 2
But all of Google's server farms reside in the US. So even if Viacom was completely based in the EU, US law would apply to the server farms. Even if the logs contain those of citizens who resides under the European Union's jurisdiction, it's irrelevant because the servers are once again on US soil.

However if Google also had server farms in the EU those particular farms and the logs contained within them would fall under EU law.

RE: Catch 22
By sp00ns on 7/4/2008 7:10:28 AM , Rating: 2
The EU doesn't care about where the servers are based only where the data is collected. While the EU defined its law pretty much pre-internet it basically states that anybody who processes personally identifiable data collected in the EU has to abide by EU data protection rules. If Google wants to do business with the EU they have to abide by EU rules. Its not Viacom who have a potential problem, its Google.

The best line I have read about this is in the Wikipedia article which states that there is little jurisprudence on this. Which is lawyer talk for big bucks over a long period of time.


RE: Catch 22
By JCY on 7/4/2008 11:25:13 AM , Rating: 2
Not all of Google’s servers are located in the US. They spread them out over most of the world in order to provide the fastest possible service.

This map should show where in the world some of them are located:

I am afraid this map don’t show precisely where they are in the located in country but I know the one in Dublin, Ireland is located near the Xerox headquarter.

"I'm an Internet expert too. It's all right to wire the industrial zone only, but there are many problems if other regions of the North are wired." -- North Korean Supreme Commander Kim Jong-il
Related Articles
Viacom Sues Google for $1 Billion
March 13, 2007, 2:27 PM

Most Popular ArticlesAre you ready for this ? HyperDrive Aircraft
September 24, 2016, 9:29 AM
Leaked – Samsung S8 is a Dream and a Dream 2
September 25, 2016, 8:00 AM
Yahoo Hacked - Change Your Passwords and Security Info ASAP!
September 23, 2016, 5:45 AM
A is for Apples
September 23, 2016, 5:32 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