Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Never Satisfied?

Viacom Lost Piracy Case against YouTube

All efforts of the entertainment industry to accuse YouTube were undermined by the legal system of the United States. For a long time Viacom had been hoping it would manage to squeeze a billion dollars from the streaming service, accusing it of allowing pirated content on the website.

However, thus far it hasn’t succeeded – media reports say that the plaintiffs had previously convinced the Second Circuit to remand the case to the district court in order to determine some factual points that related to specific videos. The matter is that the company’s cunning plan came unstuck after district judge resolved everything in favor of Google’ YouTube, once again dismissing the case.

This lawsuit is crucial, because the judge has come to a decision that YouTube didn’t have knowledge or awareness of unauthorized activity, nor was it engaged in “willful blindness” towards any specific violation. The judge also pointed out that YouTube didn’t encourage its users to commit copyright violation or otherwise interact with its users and participate in any infringement.

As a result, the judge has told Viacom and other members of the entertainment industry that the DMCA actually means that there is an element of safe haven protection in such cases as YouTube’s one.

The $1 billion lawsuit died back in 2007, right after Google acquired YouTube for $1.65 billion. In the case, Viacom essentially argued that the streaming service was knowingly allowing copyrighted content to be uploaded to the website. In response, YouTube explained that it was just a platform where Internet users could add content, and that the service would take down any video that the copyright owners asked.

Three years ago, a judge ruled in favor of the streaming service, granting a summary motion to dismiss the lawsuit. However, an appeals court then reversed the ruling, sending the case back to court. Now the judge again came to a conclusion that YouTube was protected by the DMCA safe harbor provision.

Despite recent cooperation of Viacom and YouTube, it looks like Viacom isn’t giving up yet. Viacom has issued a statement to say that it will appeal the court ruling, claiming that the decision ignores the opinions of the higher courts and completely disregards the rights of content creators. Viacom wants a jury to weigh up the facts of this case and take into account the “overwhelming evidence” that the streaming service willfully infringed copyright.

No comments: