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YouTube Scores Huge Victory in Copyright Case

It's been more than three years since Viacom first took YouTube to court in a $1 billion lawsuit alleging willful infringement of its content. YouTube has always maintained that it removes copyrighted content when requested to do so by the owner and in doing so, is fully compliant with the requirements laid out by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). 

Yesterday U.S. District Court Judge Louis Stanton sided with YouTube and ruled that the video-sharing site, which was purchased by Google in 2006, could not be held responsible for users posting clips that infringe on Viacom copyrights. Judge Stanton pointed out that in February 2007, Viacom highlighted 100,000 videos that it said violated its copyrights and by the next day, "YouTube had removed virtually all of them."

The ruling stated that every minute of every day, 24 hours of footage is uploaded to YouTube and "mere knowledge of the prevalence of (copyright violations) in general is not enough" to make the site liable.

"This is an important victory not just for us, but also for the billions of people around the world who use the web to communicate and share experiences with each other," said Kent Walker, Vice President and General Counsel at Google. "We’re excited about this decision and look forward to renewing our focus on supporting the incredible variety of ideas and expression that billions of people post and watch on YouTube every day around the world."

However, Viacom has already said it plans to appeal the decision. Dubbing it "fundamentally flawed," the company said it will appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

Read more on the ruling on USA Today.

  • icepick314
    yeah....let's all shoot the messenger...

    not to mention sue gun and weapons manufacturer for murder, McDs for making kids fat, and God for pedophile priests...
  • lifelesspoet
    I still hold a grudge with viacom for bringing us MTV.
  • HibyPrime
    Finally a win for us, and not a win for the people who sue their own consumers.
  • skine
    Blaming Youtube for allowing copyright infringement is a bit like blaming WalMart for shoplifting.
  • ubernoobie
  • Ragnar-Kon
    Seems to me that the owners of the copyright should be policing the inter webs to find their illegal copies of their material...

    ...which is exactly what Viacom did, and they notified YouTube, and YouTube removed the videos the next day...

    ... so I fail the see what the issue is.
  • Puns
    A dyslexic man walked into a bra.
  • joe nate
    "mere knowledge of the prevalence of (copyright violations) in general is not enough"

    Seems like this is a reasonable statement. Youtube does comply with removing things when requested. They do not tell the user to upload copyrighted videos. Simply lacking the man-power to remove all of them on a daily basis is not willful intent to infringe upon the copyright.

    In most cases with intellectual property, it's the intellectual property's owner that's responsibility to protect that property. If you come out with the copyright "windows" then its your job to make sure no one else tries to sell their products with your name. The court will back you up. But if you don't care about your name, you can not take them to court. There are no "intellectual property police" that go around issuing "cease and desist" letters and charge people for using other people's intellectual property. That's the responsibility of the intellectual property holder. If they issue the complaint, youtube is and has been compliant with removing said issues.

    Expecting more from youtube is like selling paper to someone and then being held liable for what someone printed or wrote on that piece of paper.
  • micper
    Money grabbing @!$*^$*%(*&(&!!!
    but it's good to know that there is still some justice left in this world !!!
  • Pyroflea
    Okay, so YouTube hosting copyright material is legal, yet TPB and MiniNova hosting copyright material is illegal? Yeah, that makes perfect sense.