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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.



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Ding Dong ... the witch is dead!
By George Riddick on 7/3/2008 1:21:38 PM , Rating: 0
Ding dong ... the witch is dead!
... or at least she is starting to melt!

Wow ... I would say this is very good news to the entire copyright industry. While potentially inconvenient to YouTube viewers, and understanding the importance of privacy protection in the complex world of the Internet these days, this decision by the judge in the Viacom v. Google/YouTube case may be the best thing that has happened to the copyright industries in this country, and to our overall economy, in practically a decade.

I have been following this case, and others like it, now for several years. I, for one, am sick and tired of the Google's of the world blaming their own customers for all of the infringing activity that occurs day in and day out over the Google sponsored networks. Who do you think gains the most financially from these obvious infringements - Google or the poor smuck in Louisville who does not have a clue what is right or wrong, let alone what is infringing and what is not?

In fact, if it is true that an individual typically adapts his or her production and viewing habits from what they see and are taught by the larger media, entertainment, Fortune 500, and technology companies in this country ("if this weren't legal, certainly mighty Google wouldn't encourage it as they do or run AdSense ads on the infringing sites, and Exxon/Mobile wouldn't be placing ads on the sites that are displaying the "shared" works, either").

It is an unfortunate reality today that many of the copyright defense lawyers, and their clients out to make the big bucks regardless of the rules, have made a mockery of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (the DMCA), which was signed into law in 1998 by President Clinton. Like the music industry has learned in the school of hard knocks (aka "the real world"), it is virtually impossible today to hold the middlemen in these unlawful distribution channels and networks accountable. So, what do the copyright companies have to do to protect their valuable property? Go directly after the often innocent "end users" who are often sucked into this game, more often unknowingly than not. It is shameful.

Perhaps this New York court decision will help to turn those tides.

Google enables widespread copyright infringement activity like no other company on this planet. Google subsidizes entire networks of infringers through it Adwords and AdSense marketing and advertising programs. Google facilitates willful copyright infringement. Google enables widespread copyright infringement. Day in and day out. Google causes enormous damages to legitimate copyright holders every second of every single day. Google has been doing this for years. They earn a substantial portion of their overall revenue and profits by sponsoring illegal activities over the Internet. And their operations outside the U.S. are far more egregious than the infringement activity we see referenced in this Viacom case, which is largely within our borders.

I, for one, have had enough. Baseless, if not ludicrous excuses and piracy defense strategies, implemented by what used to be some of the finest copyright law firms in this country, - "fair use", "safe harbor", "no harm", "unclean hands", "de minimus damage", "copyright misuse", "DMCA safeguards", "willful blindness", "laches", and on and on - haven't we seen it all?

What do they all mean in Google's true vernacular? How about this. "We are big. We are powerful. We can do anything we damn well please. Quit complaining, copyright owners, or we'll cut you off from all the online revenues streams, as well". Better yet, "... if you don't conform, we'll simply run some of this stuff from our operations in Brazil, Russia, India, and China (those BRICS have plenty of money), and let them beam it all back here to the states."

Aren't you tired of watching Google hide behind the skirt-tails of their customers. "They were the ones who loaded the illegal videos onto our system, not us." Or , better yet, "how were we to know that Bart Simpson wasn't already in the 'Public Domain'?"

Is Google alone in this? Unfortunately, the answer is no. Microsoft, AOL, Yahoo, and others are moving as fast as they can to mimic and duplicate Google's cash cow system, whether the law is violated or not. Cash is the king. And copyrights from the creative industries are not the only victims. Haven't you seen lately, similar claims (and penalties) levied against these giant Internet companies for their advertising efforts to support, or even subsidize in many cases, the distribution of harmful pharmaceutical drugs and counterfeits over the Internet, sponsor illegal gambling and pornography web sites, and many others too numerous to mention. Billions and billions and billions of dollars every single month.

"What do you expect us to do, your honor. Try out every single drug our customers illegally deliver just because we provide the advertising revenues for them to survive?"

This activity not only helps to destroy our economy, it breaks down the moral fiber of our society. What makes you think this young generation that has grown up witnessing these wide scale unlawful activities delivered to them (usually "free of charge") via the Internet, will be able to draw a distinction between the virtual world and the physical world where STEALING in concerned as they get older and have to put food on a table full of their own babies and elderly parents? The jury is still out on that one.

I applaud the nerve, and the intelligence, of the judge up there in New York who presides over this case between Google and Viacom. Maybe your recent ruling will cause all of these Internet parasites to wake up and see the error of their ways before it is too late for all of us.

As a pleasant footnote to copyright holders. Do you think the judge would have allowed the complete user logs of YouTube to be released in this case if the outcome of this case was not leaning in Viacom's direction? I certainly do not. This may, indeed, be one of the most important weeks in the history of protecting the original works of copyright owners in this country ... one of the few absolute rights that was guaranteed to all of us in our Constitution over 200 years ago.

Congratulations New York. Congratulations copyright holders. It must feel good to know you have some judges up that way who have your best interests at heart in enforcing our critically important (and "endangered") copyright laws and maintaining the delicate balance between managing and policing unbridled growth (i.e. "growth at ANY cost") over the Internet and maintaining our vital and long standing ethical, moral, and legal business practices going forward, while looking out for your best interests.

... which old witch ... the wicked witch!

George P. Riddick, III
Chairman/CEO
Imageline, Inc.

griddick@imageline2.com




By OblivionMage on 7/5/2008 2:33:55 PM , Rating: 2
Now that was a strange post;
quote:
troll troll troll troll troll troll trolltrolltrolltrolltroll


RE: Ding Dong ... the witch is dead!
By lagitup on 7/6/08, Rating: 0
By lagitup on 7/6/2008 3:29:53 PM , Rating: 2
Oops...
quote:
people will actually care.

meant to say "will actually listen."


RE: Ding Dong ... the witch is dead!
By Arctucas on 7/7/2008 10:43:12 AM , Rating: 2
Mr. Riddick,

These guys just do not get it, do they?


By 4wardtristan on 7/9/2008 11:12:44 PM , Rating: 2
i dunno, but....christ that post was just to long to read


"Death Is Very Likely The Single Best Invention Of Life" -- Steve Jobs

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