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Google Defends Itself in Viacom Appeal

3 Apr, 2011 By: Chris Tribbey

Google said in a March 31 legal filing that a U.S. District Court judge was correct in ruling that alleged copyright infringement on YouTube fell under the safe harbor provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, or DCMA, and contends that ruling should be upheld.

Viacom lost its 3-year-old, $1 billion copyright infringement suit against Google-owned YouTube in June 2010, with a judge ruling that the safe harbor provisions of the DMCA protected YouTube from hosting protected video clips owned by Viacom. Viacom appealed in December.

“The statute makes copyright owners, not service providers, responsible for policing their copyrights by identifying, and, if they choose, requesting the removal of infringing material,” Google’s filing reads. “That was the only sensible approach: Copyright holders are the ones in a position to know what material they own, what they have licensed and where they want their works to appear online.”

YouTube removed infringing Viacom-owned videos once YouTube was notified, the filing contends, and “plaintiffs cannot point to a single clip that YouTube knew was infringing but did not take down.”

“[Viacom] repeatedly sent YouTube takedown notices for videos that they had actually posted,” the filing reads. “In this litigation, Viacom mistakenly sued over many videos that it was responsible for uploading.”

Google’s filing also accuses Viacom lawyers of submitting documents that incorrectly claim Viacom did not post infringing clips. It also states that YouTube has worked closely with content owners to allow copyrighted content on the site and has given Viacom and others plenty of tools to remove infringing content.

“Disregarding this evidence of YouTube’s legitimate origins, socially beneficial uses and efforts to prevent infringement, plaintiffs strive to portray YouTube as a ‘pirate’ site, and gravely predict the demise of copyright if their view of the DMCA is not adopted,” the filing reads. “In addition to user-created videos of every imaginable variety, YouTube hosts authorized videos from movie and television studios, record labels, music publishers, news organizations, government entities and sports leagues — and from the plaintiffs themselves.”

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About the Author: Chris Tribbey

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