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YouTube Users Lash Out at Viacom

9 Jul, 2008 By: Chris Tribbey

YouTube users are lashing out this week, following a federal ruling that gives Paramount Pictures parent Viacom access to user information on the Web site.

Following the ruling in Viacom's $1 billion copyright infringement case against YouTube owner Google, YouTube users have uploaded dozens of videos critical of the decision, some drawing hundreds of thousands of views.

One video compares the decision to walking into a mall where they search your pockets, purse or wallet. Another suggests that Viacom may start going after YouTube users for viewing copyrighted material. Several call for a boycott against Viacom's products.

“Your beef is with YouTube, not the YouTube user, so leave us out of it … I'm not a thief, and I don't like being treated like one,” one YouTube user said.

Viacom is striving to reassure consumers that it will only use the data it gets from Google to prove that the company hasn't done enough to keep copyrighted material off YouTube. It has set up a separate news link on its site regarding YouTube and released a statement: “A recent discovery order by the federal court hearing the case of Viacom v. YouTube has triggered concern about what information will be disclosed by Google and YouTube and how it will be used. Viacom has not asked for and will not be obtaining any personally identifiable information of any YouTube user.

“It is unfortunate that we have been compelled to go to court to protect Viacom's rights and the rights of the artists who work with and depend on us. YouTube and Google have put us in this position by continuing to defend their illegal and irresponsible conduct and by profiting from copyright infringement, when they could be implementing the safe and legal user-generated content experience they promise.”

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