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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in regards to napster
3/14/2007 6:52:04 PM
there was a point made that this case is similar to napster and another that it wasn't.
actually they are very similar and google will probably win this where napster couldn't. how? google has money to defend themselves and a serious investment to protect so google will fight. napster had no money for a lengthy legal battle and had everything to lose and nothing to gain as napster wasn't worth much nor had there been any serious investment. so napster settled fast and gave in to the riaa demands and promised to play nice and be a service like rhapsody and license and pay royalty fees (a.k.a. ransom) to the riaa companies for use of the material.
google is pulling copyrighted material, when they are aware of it it gets yanked. they also do fall under safe harbour as they are a host for files users upload not a service providing material they ripped from other copyrighted works themsleves. there is a legitimate use for youtube and legitimate material is on the site (first requirement of safe harbour). youtube is not putting material on themsleves but it is all user uploaded (second requirement). youtube does, when instructed by actual copyright holder, remove material that is in violation of copyright law (third requirement).
youtube / google is safe and they know it. viacom thought they would pull an riaa move and get google to capitulate with a seemingly overwhelming sum that google wouldn't risk paying. they figured wrong and are now stuck eating their lawsuit and losing all further chances at intimidating other sites or sticking it out in court and paying the fees for themselves and youtube/google's legal teams and court costs to reserve the right to scare some smaller site in future.
should be quite fun as the ramifications will impact riaa in a major way also as it will be another very public case that will set precedent to favor hosting sites.
RE: in regards to napster
3/15/2007 4:28:58 AM
The case would be valid only if majority of Youtube's uploaded materials were Viacom contents.
Google spend a lot of money to research the legal problems related to Youtube before actually buying it. There is no reason why the legal team who did the research not foresee such legal issues would arise.
"Paying an extra $500 for a computer in this environment -- same piece of hardware -- paying $500 more to get a logo on it? I think that's a more challenging proposition for the average person than it used to be." -- Steve Ballmer
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