Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Viacom versus Google

As you probably know Google and ViaCom are squaring off for a major legal battle. On March 13, 2007, Viacom filed a Federal Copyright Infringement Complaint Against YouTube And Google. According to the Viacom press release:

"The lawsuit claims over $1 billion in damages, as well as an injunction prohibiting Google and YouTube from further copyright infringement. The complaint contends 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 is protesting the posting of Viacom owned content on Googles YouTube. Viacom holdings include MTV, Comedy Central, VH1 and Paramount Pictures.

Yesterday Google responded to the Viacom lawsuit kicking things into high gear. Here's how the Google response begins:

"Viacom's complaint in this action challenges the careful balance established by Congress when it enacted the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The DMCA balances the rights of copyright holders and the need to protect the internet as an important new form of communication. 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. Google and YouTube respect the importance of intellectual property rights, and not only comply with their safe harbor obligations under the DMCA, but go well above and beyond what the law requires".

As I understand - and I'll preface this by saying I'm not an attorney - Google says it is in compliance with the DMCA because it removes copyrighted content that has been posted on request. Viacom, on the other side, is claiming Google is not taking "proactive steps" to prevent users from posting copyrighted material.

This will be interesting to watch and you can believe everyone will be watching.

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