YouTube/Google Beats Viacom in Copyright Case


2 comments posted

Question. The employee's of

Submitted by MikeAlike(recording artist) (not verified) on July 2, 2010 - 11:00pm.

Question. The employee's of Youtube/Google are infringing and using others work or random users are? Youtube has no control of what users do at random nor is their responsibility- if the users are infringing and selling others work for commercial purposes thats another matter- although a creative common practice and law applies to use of works if its intention and purpose is used for non merchandising purposes, correct? And a major label "act" has used my/our material/work and this "recreation" or altered form is played on Viacom channels- its allowed for me to sue them (Viacom)or the label which houses the offender, and to mention I contacted that particular label group- they refuse to return my call, go figure. This sort of "act" of infringement occurs often- so Viacom and Youtube is to remove any such display on their channel now due to the labels use is unwarranted- or its actually the responsibility of the label to remove the work used? We don't hold Viacom responsible, why? They didn't produce the video.

Hi Mike, Thanks for the

Submitted by Casey on July 6, 2010 - 2:03pm.

Hi Mike,

Thanks for the comment. There appear to be a couple of different questions here, and I'll do my best to answer them.

The judge in this case indeed decided that, according to his reading of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, YouTube is not liable for infringement by third parties (ie, the users who put stuff up on the site). His decision applied a couple of tests based on DMCA statute, which we described in the post.

The basic idea is that, if YouTube a) has no prior knowledge of SPECIFIC infringements and b) takes immediate action when notified of infringement, then they are eligible for the so-called "safe harbor" protections in the DMCA that protect certain web services (search engines, user-generated content sites, etc.) from liability.

The judges opinion — which has been criticized by some as being insufficient in its application of statute — nonetheless tracks with another recent case concerning the now-defunct web video site Veoh. That case was decided similarly, according to DMCA statute. YouTube/Google just happen to be way bigger, hence all the hullaboo.

Your second question seems to be about copyright designations within Creative Commons. I'm not a CC expert, but as I understand it, it does enable the creator to modify the type of uses allowed — like allowing all non-commercial uses to be free. If a corporate entity wants to use a work under that specific CC designation, the creator is in their rights to demand that they stop (or negotiate monetary terms to authorize the use).

I've heard an anecdotal story about how some guy made a goofy YouTube video that was shown on a Viacom-owned channel (like MTV) in a "stupidest web videos"-style segment. I'm not sure if he objected to the use, but I'm guessing he didn't.

Supposedly, someone else put the televised broadcast featuring that same goofy video up on YouTube. Viacom subsequently ordered a takedown of a video they originally got from the site. Bizarre, huh?

Keep in mind that Viacom are the owners of the content under dispute in the YouTube case, so it's a bit different. YouTube is merely a conduit through which the videos can be viewed.

YouTube does have licensing arrangement with plenty of major content companies,but Viacom chose to go down the legal route. Which so far, hasn't seemed to work out for them.

That said, there is a very good chance that this decision will be overturned in appeal.

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