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Judge dismisses Viacom's $1 billion copyright suit against YouTube

A federal judge dismissed Viacom’s $1 billion copyright infringement lawsuit against YouTube, after a three-year battle that raised questions about how Web sites can use and share original content.

Judge Louis Stanton, of the U.S. District Court of the Southern District Court of New York, ruled in favor of Google, which owns YouTube, saying a “safe habor” in the Digital Millenium Copyright Act protected the search giant because the firm immediately took down videos owned by Viacom when the clips were discovered.

“When they received specific notice that a particular item infringed a
copyright, they swiftly removed it,” Stanton wrote in his summary judgement order released Wednesday. “It is uncontroverted that all the clips in suit are off the YouTube website, most having been removed in response to DMCA takedown notices.”

Those actions protected Google from liability for copyright violations, the judge said. But Viacom said in a statement that it will appeal the case.

"We believe that this ruling by the lower court is fundamentally flawed and contrary to the language of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act," Viacom said in its statement. "The intent of Congress, and the views of the Supreme Court as expressed in its most recent decisions. We intend to seek to have these issues before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit as soon as possible.

Google wrote in a blog posting that the ruling was an “important victory, not just for us, but for the billions of people around the world who use the Web to communicate and share experiences with each other.”

“The decision follows established judicial consensus that online services like YouTube are protected when they work cooperatively with copyright holders to help them manage their rights online,” Google said in its blog posting.

Google and other Web companies such as Facebook, Yahoo and IAC/Interactive sided with YouTube and filed friend-of-the-court briefs in the case, asking the judge to dismiss the lawsuit. Those firms had much at stake in the case, as their Web sites use and exchange a wide range of content, including as news articles, videos and photos.

But content publishers such as Viacom, which owns MTV and Paramount Pictures, have argued that they lose money on their programming when users exchange that content freely without advertising and other fees going to the production houses.

Public Knowledge, a public advocacy group, said the decision strikes a good balance for content and Web services companies.

"The burden to point out allegations of infringement is with the content provider, and the burden of taking down material lies with the service provider," said Sherwin Siy, deputy legal director of Public Knowledge. "Had Viacom won this case, that burden would have shifted dramatically.  As the law now stands, prompt compliance with take-down notices shields an online service provider from liability."

By Cecilia Kang  |  June 23, 2010; 6:05 PM ET
Categories:  Google , copyright  
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Comments

check out GETTY and HITLER

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6QnT5t-qxIE

Posted by: MacDonald1 | June 23, 2010 7:20 PM | Report abuse

The DMCA mut be repealed. Intellectual property is intellectual fascism. Viacom doesn't lose one dime from postings by fans on Yahoo. In their short sighted greed, they lose additional exposure. Viacom and Sony music and the rest overlook the benefits of widespread distribution. The music entertainment industrial complex must be SMASHED.

Posted by: mikelemm | June 23, 2010 8:59 PM | Report abuse

F Off Viacom; you deserve it.

Posted by: theobserver4 | June 23, 2010 9:01 PM | Report abuse

Again, Cecilia Kang's writing is biased toward Google. Notice how she gives Public Knowledge -- a Google lobbying group -- the last word? Kang should be dismissed and allowed to move on to the job at Google which she's obviously bucking for.

Posted by: LBrettGlass | June 23, 2010 11:06 PM | Report abuse

This must be a terrible blow to Obambi's masters in Hollywood. I'm sure that the DOJ that he's filled with Hollywood lawyers will be right on it.

Posted by: VAtrailerTrash | June 23, 2010 11:11 PM | Report abuse

The DMCA mut be repealed. Intellectual property is intellectual fascism. Viacom doesn't lose one dime from postings by fans on Yahoo. In their short sighted greed, they lose additional exposure. Viacom and Sony music and the rest overlook the benefits of widespread distribution. The music entertainment industrial complex must be SMASHED.

Posted by: mikelemm

-----------------

Oddly, the DMCA is the only thing that helped Google win this case. Were it not for the safe harbor clause written into it, Google probably would have lost.

Agreed, this still doesn't address the greater copyright issue of whether people should be allowed to post copyrighted Viacom material as they wish on the internet, but the DMCA does at least give protection to those hosting websites like YouTube where anyone can post.

Posted by: blert | June 23, 2010 11:46 PM | Report abuse

I couldn't believe it when Viacom brought this suit, and I cannot believe that they are planning to appeal. The DMCA is clear that when people post copyrighted material to websites, the operator of the website is not liable if the material is removed within a reasonable amount of time after the copyright holder complains. Viacom helped write the DMCA, and now it's arguing (futilely) against it. Go figure.

Viacom made their own bed when they pushed for the DMCA as the solution to all of their copyright problems in the computer age. They tried to stifle the internet, and to tie up all parodies, remixes, and other creative uses of material, and they succeeded in claiming copyright over all of this. The only problem is that they also left a back door to allow it to be posted, and now they realize that the flood of material is too much for them to keep requesting deletions. Serves them right.

Posted by: blert | June 23, 2010 11:53 PM | Report abuse

This must be a terrible blow to Obambi's masters in Hollywood. I'm sure that the DOJ that he's filled with Hollywood lawyers will be right on it.

Posted by: VAtrailerTrash

----

I understand being trailer trash you would not know better but Google top management support Obama.

This court was right and I doubt the Obama administration will get involved. You-Tube complied with DMCA and Viacom is stuck in a business model and thinking of the past.

Posted by: rcc_2000 | June 24, 2010 7:47 AM | Report abuse

Again, Cecilia Kang's writing is biased toward Google. Notice how she gives Public Knowledge -- a Google lobbying group -- the last word? Kang should be dismissed and allowed to move on to the job at Google which she's obviously bucking for.

Posted by: LBrettGlass | June 23, 2010 11:06 PM

_________________

Either that or just trying to just GoogleTV

Posted by: cbmuzik | June 24, 2010 8:58 AM | Report abuse


Did somebody add back in the dialog that might have made fun of Mohammed in South Park and post it on YouTube? Are the cowardly execs at Viacom hiding under their bed?

Posted by: edbyronadams | June 24, 2010 9:09 AM | Report abuse

What's your deal, LBrettGlass?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Prtf4jjHQeM

Posted by: corrections | June 24, 2010 9:49 AM | Report abuse

Have you purchased a computer, DVD player or gaming console in the past five years?

Did tech companies overcharge consumers?

The federal government accused Sony, Phillips, Hitachi, LG and other tech companies of working together to overcharge consumers on computer disc drives and CD/DVD players.

I work with attorneys representing consumers in a civil case against these tech companies.

If you’ve purchased a computer, DVD player or gaming console in the past five years that featured a disc drive to play CDs or DVDs, you should sign-up at http://www.hbsslaw.com/odd

Posted by: HBSSLaw | June 24, 2010 6:33 PM | Report abuse

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