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: N.Korea's Internet appears to collapse after Sony hack (Update)

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

Britain's UKIP issues online rules after gaffes

Dec 21, 2014

UK Independence Party (UKIP), the British anti-European Union party, has ordered a crackdown on the use of social media by supporters and members following a series of controversies.

Sony saga blends foreign intrigue, star wattage

Dec 21, 2014

The hackers who hit Sony Pictures Entertainment days before Thanksgiving crippled the network, stole gigabytes of data and spilled into public view unreleased films and reams of private and sometimes embarrassing ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.