Google Responds to Viacom's $1 Billion Lawsuit
March 14, 2007 12:00 PM
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Google says its protected by the DMCA
Yesterday, Viacom dropped a $1 billion lawsuit bomb on Google, claiming that the search giant "intentionally" allows users to post copyrighted material on its YouTube website. Today, Google's lawyers indicated that
Google has a very strong legal stance against Viacom's claims
. Under current copyright laws, Google indicated that it was well protected.
According to Google's associate general counsel Alexander Macgillivray, his company's actions are within the protections of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). "Here there is a law which is specifically designed to give Web hosts such as us, or... bloggers or people that provide photo-album hosting online ... the 'safe harbor' we need in order to be able to do hosting online," Macgillivray said.
Just a few days ago,
reported on the new Freedom and Innovation Revitalizing U.S. Entrepreneurship (FAIR USE) Act, which
lightens the restrictions imposed by the DMCA
even more so. In fact, the FAIR USE act aims to protect companies that provide products and services to consumers, from being sued by the likes of such organizations as the RIAA.
"This is an area of law where there are a bunch of really clear precedents, so Amazon and eBay have both been found to qualify for the safe harbor and there are a whole bunch more," said Macgillivray. Google said in a statement that it plans to have YouTube continue its services.
"We will continue to innovate and continue to host material for people, without being distracted by this suit," continued Macgillivray. Google previously won in a case involving similar copyright issues where it won based on safe harbor protection and other grounds.
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RE: Sorry, does not fly
3/14/2007 12:56:21 PM
Whether their defense flies or not can't be determined until they appear in court and argue before a judge. Google has an exceptionally good legal team, and I'm sure Viacom does as well. I hope this goes to court because, frankly, I want to watch them fight it out. Should make for some entertaining legal theatre.
RE: Sorry, does not fly
3/15/2007 6:53:16 AM
Viacom has a great legal team ? Sure they do. Which is why they sued Howard Stern for a BILLION dollars and when the suit was settled, ended up giving him all the tapes from his show for the last 20 years. Usually, when you sue someone, the idea is to get concessions from THEM, not the other way around.
Google does not equal Napster. Google has not provided much of a response regarding what steps they have taken as a result of Viacom identifying infringing content. Remember, they crux of Google's argument is that it onus is on Viacom to ID the infringing content. Google does NOT have to police the 50 million videos on YouTube looking for Viacom content. They do have to take down Viacom content when it is identified for them.
The fact that Viacom and Google were in talks to make Viacom content available on YouTube should clue everyone in on what's really going on here. Obviously Viacom values the use of their content on YouTube at a much higher level than Google does. So if Viacom can't get Google to voluntarily pay them $1B, they'll just get the courts to make them pay that much.
"We are going to continue to work with them to make sure they understand the reality of the Internet. A lot of these people don't have Ph.Ds, and they don't have a degree in computer science." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis
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