Viacom says YouTube ignored copyrights

Pointing to internal YouTube eMail messages, Viacom said in a court filing that the video site’s founders turned a blind eye when users uploaded copyrighted clips so they could amass a big audience and sell the company quickly, reports the New York Times. The charge was one of many made by Viacom in filings unsealed March 18 in its three-year-old copyright lawsuit against YouTube and Google, which bought YouTube in 2006 for $1.65 billion. Google fired back, saying Viacom was distorting the record by taking passages from eMail messages out of context. It also said Viacom employees and agents “continuously and secretly” uploaded clips from the company’s television shows and movies to YouTube for promotional purposes, even as they were complaining about copyright violations. “They are both tearing each other up, and both are scoring points,” said Eric Goldman, director of the High-Tech Law Institute at the Santa Clara University School of Law. The lawsuit accused YouTube of profiting from thousands of clips from Viacom movies and shows that were uploaded to the site without permission. It was filed at the height of tensions between Google and media companies over copyrights—tensions that have since eased substantially after YouTube set up an automated system to detect infringing videos. But more broadly, media companies remain wary of losing control as more of their products become digital, making them easier to copy…

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