Old Case Dies Hard – Viacom Versus Google And $1 Billion Is At Stake

Viacom has sued Google for $1 billion as YouTube has infringed tons of Viacom’s copyright video contents.  The lawsuit was brought forth back in 2007.  Just recently, the case has gotten hotter since many secret practices of the two parties may get unveil.  My thoughts on this are conflicting.  I know that YouTube may have had Viacom’s copyright videos for viewing without licences, but also Viacom had uploaded its videos to YouTube, but only pulled those videos off YouTube when the lawsuit was brought forth.  Google also claims that Viacom has even uploaded its own videos to YouTube after the lawsuit has filed.  Viacom argues that the YouTube’s founders were intended to infringe on others’ copyrights.  Viacom suggests that Google was armed with this knowledge while it acquired YouTube constitutes that Google had ignored the unlawful acts by YouTube’s founders, and so Google and YouTube should not be protected under Digital Milennium Copyright Act.

Viacom has made a valid point, but the suggestion that Google and YouTube should not be protected by DMCA since Google bought YouTube with a knowledge of unlawful practice by YouTube’s founders is sketchy.  Since Google acquired YouTube, Google has removed massive amount of copyright contents, and due to the nature of YouTube and the Internet itself, even Google has a hard time in checking and removing every copyright content as the website has hundred millions of users and almost uncountable number of videos that have had gotten uploaded everyday.  Google stays smart by not allowing people to upload videos beyond certain length, which means users cannot upload videos longer than 10 minutes, and so with this knowledge we can safely assume that Google is encouraging the fair use practice where only a small portion of copyright content gets exposed.  Otherwise, Google could have YouTube allowed users to upload any size video contents, and the full portions of copyright materials would be viewable by anyone.

Obviously, I’m not a lawyer, and I have no idea what are at stake here, but to me it’s obvious that Viacom is a business, and Google is also a business, both are just trying to outdo one another.  Viacom prefers the old business model where things are easier to keep track and more profitable, but time has changed so much that the old business model that Viacom has subscribed may need to evolve.  Also, by suing Google, Viacom has more to gain if it wins.  Google may not allow Viacom to win the lawsuit outright by strike a deal with Viacom, and in this way YouTube can go on and operate as it has always been.

YouTube is one of the biggest video websites on the web, and for YouTube to lose a case as major as this, the same fate may cloudily drape upon other big Internet video content providers/web services.  Many social network websites such as Myspace and Facebook may also face similar lawsuits as these social networks also provide contents known as user generated contents.  What you think about the lawsuit that Viacom has brought forth?  Will user generated contents be shun by web service providers since the risks can outweigh the benefits if Viacom wins the lawsuit?  Source – here and here.


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