Say That Again

by Mike Masnick




Viacom Takes YouTube Lawsuit Into The Court Of Public Opinion

from the and-rewrites-the-DMCA-in-the-process dept

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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  1. identicon
    Luci, 26 Mar 2007 @ 10:45am

    Re:

    ---
    (i) does not have actual knowledge that the material or an activity using the material on the system or network is infringing;
    (ii) in the absence of such actual knowledge, is not aware of facts or circumstances from which infringing activity is apparent; or
    (iii) upon obtaining such knowledge or awareness, acts expeditiously to remove, or disable access to, the material;
    (B) does not receive a financial benefit directly attributable to the infringing activity, in a case in which the service provider has the right and ability to control such activity; and
    (C) upon notification of claimed infringement as described in paragraph (3), responds expeditiously to remove, or disable access to, the material that is claimed to be infringing or to be the subject of infringing activity.

    I am no lawyer, but it does seem that YouTube doesn't qualify under a few provisions.

    That being said, I doubt it will ever get to court. As for going after the people who upload the content, why should they? Sometimes its better to drain the swamp rather than just swat at flies.


    I am not a lawyer, either, but it would appear to me in reading this, and your take on it, that you have missed a certain conjunction at the end of paragraph 2. Said conjunction, 'or,' indicates that they must only meet the qualifications under ONE of the three paragraphs, and they certainly do meet it under paragraph 3. They do not question DMCA notices, but act upon them almost immediately. That is what they are legally obligated to do. No more. No less.

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