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One of cable's largest media conglomorates has opened the litigation against YouTube

Viacom today announced it has filed a lawsuit against Google in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Viacom filed the lawsuit claiming that Google intentionally committed massive copyright infringement of Viacom’s entertainment properties. The lawsuit seeks more than $1 billion in damages, in addition to an injunction that will prohibit Google/YouTube from further copyright infringement.

In its statement, Viacom said that “almost 160,000 unauthorized clips of Viacom’s programming have been available on YouTube and that these clips had been viewed more than 1.5 billion times.” Viacom would have greatly preferred these page views to have come from its own online video sharing website iFilm, so that it would have been able to receive advertising revenue.

Viacom also said Google, which acquired YouTube in 2006, 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.” Essentially,  fans of content not owned by Google are watching the “creative works” on YouTube while Google benefits from and exploits these users’ devotions to these T.V. shows.

Viacom went on to say that YouTube’s entire business model is “based on building traffic and selling advertising off of unlicensed content.” Viacom’s statement even says that Google is avoiding taking “proactive steps to curtail the infringement on its site.”  YouTube missed the anti-piracy deadline that it promised to deliver by January 2007.

Viacom is also unhappy that it has to police YouTube’s content and says that YouTube has placed “the entire burden – and high cost – of monitoring YouTube onto the victims of its infringement.”

Viacom believes that “YouTube and Google are continuing to take the fruit” of its efforts without permission while also “destroying enormous value in the process.” Viacom also added a little sentiment by saying the value “rightfully belongs to the writers, directors and talent who create it and companies like Viacom that have invested to make possible this innovation and creativity.” Despite the added emotion, however, there is no doubt that the lawsuit centers on money.    

After unproductive negotiation Viacom believes that its only choice is to “turn to the courts to prevent Google and YouTube from continuing to steal” its content and to gain compensation for damages.

Prior to 2006, Viacom owned CBS broadcasting networks.  CBS Corporation has also scrutinized YouTube; the company recently declined a content sharing program that was slated for 2007.  Viacom, on the other hand, has chosen to partner with Joost for its online content sharing platform.

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RE: Two things...
By Ard on 3/13/2007 5:36:55 PM , Rating: 2
I love when ppl come up with analogies that are completely irrelevant. The grocery store has no control over the car sitting in their parking lot. Even if you can make the argument that they have some modicum of control over the physical location in which the car sits, they certainly do not have control over the items inside that car.

That analogy is completely different than the instant case. YouTube, being the host, has complete and utter control over the content that appears on their website. While they certainly can't stop users from initially posting copyrighted material, they can prevent those users from continuing to post that material (by banning them) and prevent others from seeing the content by removing it at the request of the copyright owner.

RE: Two things...
By Lifted on 3/13/2007 5:42:59 PM , Rating: 2
I think the answer is more along the lines of Google making money from other companies copyrighted works, while the car w/ drugs in a parking lot does not make the business that owns the parking lot money so they are not endorsing it.

RE: Two things...
By Ard on 3/13/2007 5:49:36 PM , Rating: 2
That's certainly part of it to be sure. But ultimately it's still going to come down to who has the rights and control over the object in question.

RE: Two things...
By Xerstead on 3/13/2007 6:48:19 PM , Rating: 2
This analogy would be more accurate if the drug dealers brought their drugs into the store, left them on a shelf to be viewed and sampled by the shops customers.
In this scenario the store could: Remove the drugs, ban the dealers from the store and inform the relavant authorties. From the reports, Google is reluctant to be proactive in any of these points.

“And I don't know why [Apple is] acting like it’s superior. I don't even get it. What are they trying to say?” -- Bill Gates on the Mac ads
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