Smoking Gun In Viacom Vs. YouTube Case?


Posted October 6, 2009 - By Stephen Johnson

Smoking Gun In Viacom Vs. YouTube Case?Has Viacom found what amounts to a "smoking gun" in its lawsuit against Google's YouTube? The billio-dollar suit was filed in 2007 because Viacom believes YouTube hosted many Viacom-owned video clips without permission

While Viacom accuses YouTube of "massive intentional copyright infringement" in the case, YouTube maintains that it "has respected the legal rights of copyright holders." YouTube says, basically, it responds promptly to rights holders requesting that videos be removed from the site. Viacom disagrees, and reportedly has copies of emails that prove YouTube employees knew about questionable content on the site, allowed it to stay, and even posted material from other copyright holders.

Court documents show that on August 25 Viacom agreed to turn over records that shed light on "Viacom's decisions to upload or authorize the uploading of videos to YouTube" and on the company's policies "for allowing videos to remain on YouTube for marketing promotional or other business reasons," which suggests that Viacom uploaded clips to the site itself.

"The facts you described could very well be the smoking gun that puts a hole through Google's case," Roger Goff, an entertainment attorney not involved in the case, told CNET News. "(If the facts are accurate), Google will have a very difficult time claiming that (its staff members) don't undermine its protection."

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act contains a provision allowing protection for companies that inadvertently post copyrighted material, as long as:

  • (A)(i) The services don't have actual knowledge that the material, or an activity using the material on the system or network, is infringing.
  • (ii) in the absence of such actual knowledge, is not aware of facts or circumstances from which infringing activity is apparent; or
  • (iii) upon obtaining such knowledge or awareness, acts expeditiously to remove, or disable access to, the material.

Should this case go to trial (and I'll bet you a hundred dollars it will settle long before that), I gotta imagine it will essentially hinge on the the word "expeditiously." How fast is fast enough, when asked to pull certain videos from the site? YouTube has also pointed out that Viacom itself uses YouTube to promote programming,    


Smoking Gun In Viacom Vs. YouTube Case?


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