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Google Gets Sued Over Online Videos

9 Nov, 2006 By: Thomas K. Arnold

The copyright infringement crackdown on the booming viral video sites continues with word that Google's online video service is being sued for copyright infringement.

The revelation came in Google's most recent filing with the federal Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), for the quarter ended Sept. 30.

Without going into detail, Google reports “certain entities” have filed copyright infringement claims against Google Video and its related Web-search services.

Google also conceded its “planned acquisition of YouTube may subject us to additional copyright claims upon the closing of the transaction,” according to the filing.

Google launched its own video-sharing service in January, a month after a pirated “Saturday Night Live” sketch on YouTube propelled that Web site into the spotlight, despite a stern demand from NBC that the skit be yanked.

Since then, Google has been trying to play catch-up to YouTube, ultimately giving up and, last month, negotiating a $1.65 billion deal to buy it instead. YouTube has been a dizzying success story, but its Achilles heel, according to observers, is that it does not screen for pirated content in advance. Only when a copyright holder complains are videos pulled down, leaving the site vulnerable to litigation.

In its filing Google stated, “Companies in the Internet, technology and media industries own large numbers of patents, copyrights, trademarks and trade secrets and frequently enter into litigation based on allegations of infringement or other violations of intellectual property rights. As we face increasing competition and become increasingly high profile, the possibility of intellectual property rights claims against us grows.”

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