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Viacom Rescinds Request for YouTube User Info in Copyright Suit

15 Jul, 2008 By: Chris Tribbey

YouTube user IDs and Internet Protocol (IP) addresses won't be shared with Viacom Inc. in its $1 billion copyright infringement lawsuit against Google, according to a July 14 court filing.

The federal judge in the case ruled earlier in July that Google, YouTube's parent company, had to share data about what YouTube users were watching, to help Viacom determine how much was user-generated content, and how much was copyrighted material.

That ruling resulted in dozens of anti-Viacom YouTube videos, many calling for a boycott against Viacom-owned products, including Paramount Pictures, MTV and Comedy Central. YouTube users said they felt they were being targeted by the decision, and feared Viacom would next come after them personally.

The new agreement will allow YouTube to preserve the anonymity of its users when it turns over its video records.

“We are pleased to report that Viacom, MTV and other litigants have backed off their original demand for all users' viewing histories and we will not be providing that information,” YouTube said in its daily blog. “In addition, Viacom and the plaintiffs had originally demanded access to users' private videos, our search technology, and our video identification technology. Our lawyers strongly opposed each of those demands and the court sided with us. … We remain committed to protecting your privacy and we'll continue to fight for your right to share and broadcast your work on YouTube.”

Viacom has not issued a statement regarding its decision.

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