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……Read More
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Viacom-YouTube secrets to be exposed in lawsuit
A legal tussle pitting media conglomerate Viacom Inc. against online video leader YouTube is about to get dirtier as a federal judge prepares to release documents that will expose their secrets, which could prove pivotal in this 3-year-old copyright dispute that has important implications for the internet, reports the Associated Press. The information expected to be unsealed March 18 could provide insights into the early strategies of YouTube co-founders Chad Hurley and Steve Chen and how they responded to copyright complaints that quickly accumulated a few months after the web site’s 2005 debut. Viacom contends that YouTube’s employees realized copyright-protected video was being illegally posted on the web site, but routinely looked the other way because they knew the professionally produced material would help attract a bigger audience. YouTube’s lawyers have argued there was no way to know whether copyright-protected video was coming from pirates or from movie and TV studios looking to use the web site as a promotional tool. If a studio issued a notice of a copyright violation, YouTube says it promptly removed the specified clip as required under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The 1998 federal law generally protects service providers such as YouTube from copyright claims as long as they promptly remove infringing material when notified about a violation. The outcome could hinge on whether Viacom can prove YouTube knew about the copyright abuses without formal notice from Viacom……Read More