Monday, June 28, 2010

Viacom vs Google: Google's the winner

A US judge has ruled in Google's favour in relation to the case brought against it by Viacom (reported in this previous post) for alleged copyright infringements on YouTube (full ruling here). From the BBC's coverage:
"...the Manhattan judge said Google and YouTube could not be held liable merely for having a "general awareness" that videos might be posted illegally...Viacom had claimed that "tens of thousands of videos" based on its copyrighted works had been posted on YouTube, and that both YouTube and its owner Google had known about it but had done nothing about it. But District Judge Louis Stanton said in his ruling: "Mere knowledge of prevalence of such activity in general is not enough. The provider need not monitor or seek out facts indicating such activity." Google and YouTube had argued that they were entitled to "safe harbour" protection under digital copyright law because they had insufficient notice of particular alleged offences. Judge Stanton agreed, saying that when "YouTube was given notices, it removed the material... it is thus protected from liability" under a provision in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act."
A slightly different take from FierceCable:
"Judge Stanton...agreed that Google knew that copyrighted material had been uploaded to its site but did not know which clips had permission and which did not. Viacom filed suit in 2007 claiming copyright infringement after videos it owned were uploaded to the site. The case, which got really nasty as each side revealed disparaging information about the other, has greater implications for Internet sites that build viewership with uploaded content. According to the judge, companies are shielded from copyright claims by "safe harbor" provisions in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act."
And from the FT (Viacom loses $1bn copyright case to YouTube):
"Unless internet services such as YouTube have “specific” knowledge of infringement and do nothing to remove the clips, they are protected by the safe harbour clauses of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act."
Viacom are appealing the decision; their statement is here.

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