Google & Viacom Go At It In Court Over YouTube

Mar 19, 2010 • 8:17 am | comments (0) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Other Google Topics
 

About two years ago, Viacom sued Google over videos being uploaded and kept on YouTube. It was a big stink then because of the value of the lawsuit and the technology to follow to help copyright owners locate and remove content either manually or automatically from YouTube.

Now, the court documents have been released and things are looking nasty between the two companies. Here is a PDF of the documents on Google.

Google blogged their two cents on the case, saying:

Yet YouTube and sites like it will cease to exist in their current form if Viacom and others have their way in their lawsuits against YouTube.

For years, Viacom continuously and secretly uploaded its content to YouTube, even while publicly complaining about its presence there. It hired no fewer than 18 different marketing agencies to upload its content to the site. It deliberately "roughed up" the videos to make them look stolen or leaked. It opened YouTube accounts using phony email addresses. It even sent employees to Kinko's to upload clips from computers that couldn't be traced to Viacom. And in an effort to promote its own shows, as a matter of company policy Viacom routinely left up clips from shows that had been uploaded to YouTube by ordinary users. Executives as high up as the president of Comedy Central and the head of MTV Networks felt "very strongly" that clips from shows like The Daily Show and The Colbert Report should remain on YouTube.

Viacom's efforts to disguise its promotional use of YouTube worked so well that even its own employees could not keep track of everything it was posting or leaving up on the site. As a result, on countless occasions Viacom demanded the removal of clips that it had uploaded to YouTube, only to return later to sheepishly ask for their reinstatement. In fact, some of the very clips that Viacom is suing us over were actually uploaded by Viacom itself.

Given Viacom’s own actions, there is no way YouTube could ever have known which Viacom content was and was not authorized to be on the site. But Viacom thinks YouTube should somehow have figured it out. The legal rule that Viacom seeks would require YouTube -- and every Web platform -- to investigate and police all content users upload, and would subject those web sites to crushing liability if they get it wrong.

So Viacom responds later with their own post, saying:

YouTube was intentionally built on infringement and there are countless internal YouTube communications demonstrating that YouTube’s founders and its employees intended to profit from that infringement. By their own admission, the site contained “truckloads” of infringing content and founder Steve Chen explained that YouTube needed to “steal” videos because those videos make “our traffic soar.”

This is all pretty serious claims on both sides.

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

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