Google And Viacom Finally Settle The Big YouTube Lawsuit
from the about-time dept
The terms of the settlement are not public, but in this case, it likely doesn't much matter. I'd be surprised if much (or any) money changed hands (Update: Yup, it appears no money changed hands). Both companies spent many, many, many millions of dollars in the lawsuit to date, and it clearly made sense to stop it from going any further (especially from Viacom's standpoint, because it was pretty clear that it was going to lose really badly). While this means there won't be a useful Supreme Court ruling that reinforces the DMCA's safe harbors, the initial victories by Google in the lower courts should have enough precedential value to be useful in many other cases.
In the end, Viacom wasted more than seven years fighting YouTube in this particular case, and not a single court seemed to think particularly highly of its theories. Its closest "victory" in the process still involved the appeals court more or less rejecting every one of Viacom's theories. If I'm a Viacom shareholder (and, thankfully, I'm not), at this point I'm asking why the company spent so many years and so much money trying to sue one of the most popular and useful distribution platforms out there.
In the end, the case is perhaps one of the most perfect examples of how old media reacts badly to new innovations and immediately reaches for the only real tool in its toolbox against disruptive innovation: flailing about angrily in the court system, hoping to kill the innovation. Thankfully, seven years later, this process has finally been put to bed.