The Washington Post has handed over column space to Viacom's general counsel Michael Fricklas to explain the company's position in its lawsuit against Google/YouTube. It seems like Viacom is realizing that plenty of people seem to think it's making a pretty big mistake here (including some of its own employees), and thinks that a little explanation can sway public opinion. It's unlikely to help. Fricklas explains why Viacom thinks that the DMCA's safe harbor provisions don't protect Google -- something some legal experts disagree with. However, Fricklas may damage his own case towards the end where he talks about how unfair it is to put the burden of tracking the content on companies like Viacom, noting how difficult it is: "Putting the burden on the owners of creative works would require every copyright owner, big and small, to patrol the Web continually on an ever-burgeoning number of sites. That's hardly a workable or equitable solution." Yet, somehow it's "workable and equitable" to expect Google to do the same thing? The safe harbor provisions of the DMCA are there for very good reasons: to keep the platform providers from being responsible for what their users do. If Viacom is upset that fans are promoting their shows for them (and we still haven't quite figured out why), then why don't they do what the law says they should, and sue the fans uploading the content?
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