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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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