Viacom Plays The Insane Hyperbole Card In Claiming YouTube Ruling Would 'Completely Destroy' Content Value
from the get-real dept
If affirmed by this Court, that construction of Section 512(c) would radically transform the functioning of the copyright system and severely impair, if not completely destroy, the value of many copyrighted creations. It would immunize from copyright infringement liability even avowedly piratical Internet businesses.To put it mildly, this is hogwash. First of all, it's exactly how the system has functioned since the DMCA came into being in 1998. If you see infringing content on a site, you issue a takedown and the site takes it down in order to keep its safe harbors. The idea that it would "completely destroy" the value of content makes no sense at all. First, you have to understand why it makes no sense that YouTube should be liable: it has absolutely no way of knowing, for certain, whether or not specific content is infringing. As it showed in the case, even Viacom itself had trouble figuring out what was infringing, and had sued YouTube over a bunch of videos that it had put on YouTube itself. How do you make YouTube responsible for determining such things when even the copyright holder can't figure it out? It makes no sense.
Second, the idea that the value of the work is "destroyed" again makes no sense. After all, the value of any particular content is intrinsic to the content and how any individual feels about it. The value of a piece of content doesn't change if someone puts it up on YouTube. Furthermore, YouTube quickly does remove content when it receives a takedown notice, so if Viacom is that concerned, it can send the takedowns. In fact, that's exactly what it did and the company complied. That's exactly what the law says it should do. On top of that, nothing in the DMCA's safe harbors immunizes those who actually upload the content, who are still very much liable for their own actions.
But the biggest evidence that Viacom's claims are complete and total hogwash is the simple fact that even after the ruling, there has been no "mass destruction" in value of content. As we've pointed out for years, the overall revenue for the entertainment industry continues to go up all this time -- though, perhaps less of it goes to the gatekeepers like Viacom. But those are normal market changes, not anything nefarious. Who knows how the appeals court will rule in the case, but Viacom seems to be going off the deep end with hyperbole in making its own case. They must be hoping that the judges don't do much thinking for themselves.