NBC Universal and Viacom have come out against YouTube in a legal case that could help to determine whether the video-sharing site is culpable for copyright violations committed by users.
On Friday, NBC Universal and Viacom filed a request with the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles asking that they be allowed to file a friends-of-the court brief in support of journalist Robert Tur, according to a copy of the request obtained by CNET News.com.
Tur, a Los Angeles-area news reporter, accused YouTube of copyright infringement in a lawsuit last summer. Tur said in his suit that footage he shot of the 1992 Los Angeles riots appeared repeatedly on the video-sharing site.
Google, which acquired YouTube last October for $1.65 billion, has filed a summary judgment asking that Tur’s suit be dismissed, according to court documents. NBC and Viacom want the opportunity to argue against dismissing the case.
“Any ruling on YouTube’s motion will have far-reaching ramifications for the owners of video content,” NBC and Viacom said in their filing. “And especially for content owners such as Viacom and NBCU, whose works have been copied, displayed, and performed and disseminated by YouTube and others without their authorization.”
YouTube is taking the position, in effect, that it’s just an Internet service provider, a common carrier, a pipe, and that it can profit (well, has it ever profited? Its founders did when they sold out to Google) from content placed on its website but cannot be held liable for it. It think that’s preposterous, and that this position is not what Congress had in mind when it passed the amendments to the Copyright Act on which Google is relying (NB: I have not seen the actual Google filings — if someone can correct my characterization of them, I welcome that).
UPDATE: Read this.
Originally posted 2012-01-01 00:01:47. Republished by Blog Post Promoter