Originally posted 2009-09-29 23:36:13. Republished by Blog Post Promoter
Media conglomerate Viacom Inc. sued Google Inc. and its Internet video-sharing site YouTube for more than $1 billion on Tuesday in the biggest challenge yet to the Web search leader’s strategy to dominate the online video market.
The lawsuit accuses Google and its popular online video unit of “massive intentional copyright infringement,” threatening its ambitions to turn YouTube into a major distributor of entertainment and outlet for advertising.
This is going to come down to the old question that we wrestled with — without resolution — in the online auction context: Whether or not “trying really hard” to avoid copyright (or in the case of auctions, typically trademark) infringement is enough to get website such as YouTube (or eBay) off the hook.
In the case of eBay, where the issue is trademark, they have replicated the notice-and-takedown provisions of the copyright law and were tested on whether this helps — there is no safe harbor provision for trademark infringement — only by Tiffany, in a case that evidently never went anywhere.
Here there really is a legislative safe harbor under the Copyright Act. But why should an entire business model premised, at least in part, on profiting from copyright infringement get the benefit of a safe harbor? Viacom will argue that it shouldn’t.
UPDATE BUT GOOD: Settled in March 2014:
The settlement ends seven years of litigation that drew wide attention from Hollywood, the music industry and Internet companies, and which tested the reach of a federal law designed to thwart piracy while letting people find entertainment online.
“This settlement reflects the growing collaborative dialogue between our two companies on important opportunities, and we look forward to working more closely together,” Google and Viacom said in a joint statement.
Terms were not disclosed. No money changed hands, a person close to the matter said. The person was not authorized to discuss the settlement’s terms.