Court Explains Copyright Law To Viacom (Perhaps Not For The Last Time)
from the punitive-damages-don't-exist-in-copyright-law dept
It’s been a year since Viacom sued YouTube for $1 billion dollars, and it appears that the company is still learning the very basics about copyright law. A quick legal analysis (and understanding of the safe harbors in the DMCA that protect service providers from the actions of their users) would suggest that YouTube is not liable for the infringement that occurs on the site. But that didn’t stop Viacom from suing. In fact, it tried to go much further than just the $1 billion in claiming that YouTube/Google actually owed it additional punitive damages as well. It appears the judge is having none of that, pointing out to Viacom’s lawyers that the Copyright Act does not have any provision for punitive damages. This isn’t a deep legal question, it’s a question of reading the basic statute, as the judge makes pretty clear in the ruling. Hopefully, the judge will also notice that Viacom doesn’t seem to have read the safe harbor provision of the DMCA either.