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Friday, December 3,2010

Viacom files appeal in Google-YouTube case

By McClatchy-Tribune News Service

SAN FRANCISCO — Media giant Viacom Inc. on Friday filed its anticipated appeal of a June ruling in favor of Google Inc.'s YouTube video service, the latest move in the companies' ongoing battle over alleged copyright infringement.

Viacom is hoping to overturn a previous ruling that the company believes let YouTube off the hook for hosting video clips of some of Viacom's popular programs, such as "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" and "The Colbert Report."

The company said in a filing with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit that the decision finding no infringement liability for Google's YouTube was "implausible," thanks to its narrow view of "safe harbor" protections. If the ruling in favor of Google stands, Viacom argues in its filing, it "would immunize from copyright infringement liability even avowedly piratical Internet businesses."

A Google representative did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Viacom originally filed suit against Google in 2007, alleging massive copyright infringement of its media properties on YouTube, and seeking $1 billion in damages.

The companies then made a series of incriminating legal filings, with Viacom divulging internal e-mails at YouTube that appeared to acknowledge copyright infringement on the video service, and Google pointing to evidence that Viacom shrugged off concerns about infringement on YouTube, in some cases, in order to promote its properties.

In June, Judge Louis Stanton ruled that Google qualified for safe harbor protections from Viacom's infringement claims. Viacom immediately indicated it would file an appeal.

YouTube has changed in many ways from the time when Viacom first filed suit. The video service has now reached a number of partnership deals with media companies to make their properties accessible on YouTube, for example.

Google disclosed in October that YouTube, which it had acquired for $1.65 billion in 2006, is pulling in advertising revenue from more than 2 billion video views per week.


(c) 2010, MarketWatch.com Inc.

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Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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