Among The Clips That Viacom Sued Google Over, About 100 Were Uploaded By Viacom Itself

from the sorta-demonstrates-the-problem,-doesn't-it? dept

Copyright maximalists who hate the DMCA's safe harbors often claim that service providers can easily tell what content is infringing and which is not. This is, in fact, a key part of the argument made by Viacom in its lawsuit against Google over YouTube. It claims that YouTube must know that the clips are infringing and should be taken down. There's just one problem: even Viacom doesn't seem to know which clips are infringing and which are not. It turns out that, among the many YouTube clips included in the lawsuit, approximately 100 were uploaded on purpose by Viacom. Yes, you read that right:

Viacom sued Google over clips it claimed were infringing, that Viacom purposely uploaded to YouTube.

That alone should show how ridiculous Viacom's claims are in this lawsuit. There is simply no way for Google to know if clips are uploaded legitimately or not. Oddly, however, the court has now allowed Viacom to withdraw those clips, but lawyers like Eric Goldman are questioning how this isn't a Rule 11 violation for frivolous or improper litigation. But, more importantly, it demonstrates that even Viacom has no idea which clips are infringing and which are authorized. Given that, how can it possibly say that it's reasonable for Google to know?

Filed Under: authorized, copyright, dmca, videos
Companies: google, viacom, youtube

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  1. icon
    Alan Gerow (profile), 30 Dec 2009 @ 2:12pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    And *poof* computers can magically figure all that out.

    But seriously, what you're suggesting is not only impractical, but practically impossible.

    1. What's stopping Viacom from simply searching for its content in YouTube and excluding usernames it owns from the lawsuit? Nothing, because it should know the usernames its employees are using to upload videos. Yet, 200 videos purposefully uploaded by approved Viacom employees on accounts Viacom should have approved were included in their lawsuit. So, Viacom can't keep track of their own legally uploaded videos through user accounts that it knows about.

    2. Using a simple username system doesn't tell you WHO is uploading videos. Simply, what user account is uploading videos. If marketing exec A doesn't properly log-out, anyone can upload videos through their account. So, an account does nothing to guarantee you information on who you're dealing with. It's impossible to truly know WHO is behind a user account.

    3. You can't ever know without a reasonable doubt WHO is on the other end of a web connection. And essentially, you're expecting Google to know Viacom's employees better than Viacom knows them, because Google is supposed to know which Viacom employees should be uploading stuff when Viacom can't be bothered to keep track of its own staff and what they're up to itself.

    Essentially your solution is ineffective at best. The only foolproof method is Viacom to know what it owns, what it uploads, and actually be marginally competent to tell the difference between unlicensed uploads and THE STUFF IT PUT UP ITSELF.

    And all the solutions involve Viacom knowing its own business. And Viacom has proven it doesn't. Not to mention knowing WHO someone is, doesn't mean you know what they have rights to upload ... nor is it Google's responsibility to keep track of that for Viacom.

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