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Google says that Viacom's lawsuit threatens the way of Internet life

Last month, Viacom filed a lawsuit against Google alleging that the Mountain View, Calif. software company intentionally committed massive copyright infringement of Viacom’s properties. The lawsuit seeks more than $1 billion in damages, in addition to an injunction that will prohibit Google/YouTube from further copyright infringement.

Google has now released an official statement (PDF hosted at CNET) denying that it has done any wrongdoing. “By seeking to make carriers and hosting providers liable for Internet communications, Viacom's complaint threatens the way hundreds of millions of people legitimately exchange information, news, entertainment, and political and artistic expression,” read the statement.

In response to Viacom’s claim, Google’s associate general counsel Alexander Macgillivray said that the 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.

Viacom says that YouTube would not qualify for protections under the DMCA, claiming that Google has prior knowledge of copyright infringement of its hosted material. Furthermore, Viacom is refuting Google’s claim that it is unable to identify all the types of content posted on YouTube.

“It is obvious that YouTube has knowledge of infringing material on their site and they are profiting from it,” Viacom said in a statement. “It is simply not credible that a company whose mission is to organize the world's information claims that it can't find what's on YouTube.”



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Anyone remember the USENET?
By Targon on 5/1/2007 7:43:07 AM , Rating: 2
Back in the old days, many copyright holders were trying to sue various ISPs for a similar thing. The end result was that if an ISP does not try to censor content, that they really are not responsible for infringing content that goes through their systems, and were not required to actively monitor the content. That doesn't mean that copyright holders can't demand that protected works be removed, but it does protect against liability since there is no system in place to censor what is and what is not allowed.

That is the thing that opened AOL and others that put filters in place of course. If a company has filtering software in place to ban certain types of information(content filtering), then there is a clear ability and desire to keep selected materials from the servers.

One has to ask if Viacom had the sense to provide Google/Youtube with a list of materials which they insist be removed or not allowed in the first place. Even if there IS content filtering in the first place, it would be next to impossible to know the source of everything. Was it on a TV show, or some original creation of someone out there? Youtube isn't a moderated system that requires a check before things show up, so Viacom really can't expect Google employees to do a check on every single thing. Viacom CAN provide a list, or do their own checking for violations, but those should be forwarded to Google for removal from the site.




RE: Anyone remember the USENET?
By Zirconium on 5/1/2007 9:01:56 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
One has to ask if Viacom had the sense to provide Google/Youtube with a list of materials which they insist be removed or not allowed in the first place.
Viacom already asked that clips be removed from YouTube; they complied, but they did not put filters in place to prevent such clips from being reposted. Furthermore, it is very likely that YouTube can keep copyright material off the site, since they are already doing a very good job of policing against pornography.


RE: Anyone remember the USENET?
By edpsx on 5/1/2007 10:18:36 AM , Rating: 1
Sounds like Viacom is getting all pissy because their joint deal didnt work out. That or they figured they could try and get some free money. I'm with Google on this one. They are trying to do what is going to end up happening sooner or later anyways, all information will be freely(for the most part) accessible to anyone from anywhere on the planet.


RE: Anyone remember the USENET?
By zombiexl on 5/1/2007 2:56:46 PM , Rating: 2
Google got hit with lawsuits iught after they bought YouTube. They knew it would happen and I suspect they planned for it.

It was common knowledge that YouTube was not very good at keeping copyrighted materials from their site. It was also common knowledge that they didnt have a pot to piss in (so to speak). All the corporate lawyers did was what whats makes sense... waited until it was worth suing.


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