Viacom to NY court: Scrap YouTube copyright ruling

Oct 18, 2011 By LARRY NEUMEISTER , Associated Press

A lawyer for Viacom Inc. warned an appeals court panel Tuesday that there will be greater exploitation of copyright material on the Internet if the court lets YouTube get away with a business built on "rampant copyright infringement."

The lawyer, Paul Smith, told a three-judge panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan that a lower court judge was wrong to rule that Google Inc.'s popular was protected from claims.

"YouTube not only knew there was rampant copyright infringement on the site but welcomed it," Smith said. "These people made this kind of money on somebody else's property."

Google purchased YouTube for $1.76 billion in 2006, comfortable that it was protected by the safe harbor provision of the 1998 . That provision shields a company from liability if they don't have actual knowledge of copyright infringement. Once notified, the company must eliminate the infringement quickly.

Google attorney Andrew Schapiro countered that YouTube follows the law and always has by taking down video when a copyright owner claims the video infringes its rights.

"There is no evidence, zero, of a single clip in this case that YouTube knew was infringing and failed to take down," he said.

Schapiro said Viacom's chief complaint seemed to be that Google was not screening for copyright violations in the manner Viacom preferred.

"We've done A, B, C and D and plaintiffs are saying, `You should have done E and F,'" he said. "IF we did E and F, they would say, `You should have done G and H.'"

The New York-based Viacom owns popular such as MTV, Comedy Central and Nickelodeon. In 2007, Viacom brought a $1 billion lawsuit against Google, contending that YouTube was enabling unauthorized viewing of its programming from hits such as "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart."

is based in Mountain View, Calif. Viacom is joined in the action with The Football Association Premier League Limited and other plaintiffs.

An appeals ruling could be months away. Through their questions, the judges seemed to be relatively early in the process of deciding what they will do. Sometimes, they asked the most basic questions, such as what the litigants were asking them to do.

"I'm so out of it on these matters," Judge Jose A. Cabranes said when talking about one aspect of the YouTube service.

Since the purchase, YouTube has developed a software program that identifies copyright violations when videos are posted, so much of the litigation relates to whether Viacom should be compensated for what occurred before the program was put in place.

In issuing his ruling last year, Judge Louis L. Stanton noted that had spent several months accumulating about 100,000 videos violating its copyright and then sent a mass takedown notice on Feb. 2, 2007. The judge said had removed virtually all of them by the next business day.

The appeals judges seemed open to the idea that some issue in the case might deserve to be heard by a jury, but they also expressed frustration that the possibilities were as limitless as the Internet itself.

Judge Roger Miner asked: "How in the world can damages be computed here?"

Cabranes demanded to know how much damages might be worth.

"The number could be quite large," Smith said.

But when Smith suggested that it could also be not so large, Miner shot back: "Maybe what you're really looking for is a license agreement."

Smith said a license agreement was possible.

Explore further: LinkedIn membership hits 300 million

2 /5 (1 vote)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Viacom replays copyright claims in YouTube appeal

Dec 03, 2010

(AP) -- Viacom Inc. is seeking to overturn a court decision that dismissed its claims of copyright abuse against YouTube even though the Internet video site used to show thousands of pirated clips.

Viacom-YouTube secrets to be exposed in lawsuit

Mar 17, 2010

(AP) -- A legal tussle pitting media conglomerate Viacom Inc. against online video leader YouTube is about to get dirtier as a federal judge prepares to release documents that will expose their secrets and other confidential ...

Judge rebuffs Viacom in YouTube copyright case (Update)

Jun 23, 2010

(AP) -- YouTube's actions spoke louder than its founders' words when it came down to deciding whether the Internet's most watched video site illegally exploited copyrighted clips owned by media company Viacom ...

Viacom, YouTube air dirty laundry in legal battle

Mar 18, 2010

(AP) -- Viacom Inc. and Google Inc.'s YouTube site began airing each other's dirty laundry Thursday, providing a tantalizing peek at the wheeling and dealing that triggered a bitter battle over the copyright ...

Recommended for you

LinkedIn membership hits 300 million

Apr 18, 2014

The career-focused social network LinkedIn announced Friday it has 300 million members, with more than half the total outside the United States.

Researchers uncover likely creator of Bitcoin

Apr 18, 2014

The primary author of the celebrated Bitcoin paper, and therefore probable creator of Bitcoin, is most likely Nick Szabo, a blogger and former George Washington University law professor, according to students ...

White House updating online privacy policy

Apr 18, 2014

A new Obama administration privacy policy out Friday explains how the government will gather the user data of online visitors to, mobile apps and social media sites. It also clarifies that ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Ex-Apple chief plans mobile phone for India

Former Apple chief executive John Sculley, whose marketing skills helped bring the personal computer to desktops worldwide, says he plans to launch a mobile phone in India to exploit its still largely untapped ...

A homemade solar lamp for developing countries

( —The solar lamp developed by the start-up LEDsafari is a more effective, safer, and less expensive form of illumination than the traditional oil lamp currently used by more than one billion people ...

UAE reports 12 new cases of MERS

Health authorities in the United Arab Emirates have announced 12 new cases of infection by the MERS coronavirus, but insisted the patients would be cured within two weeks.

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...