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Friday, October 28, 2011

Viacom Continues Suing Google

Viacom has appealed to the US Court of Appeals, trying to overrule the decision taken by the court back in 2010, saying that Google isn’t responsible for copyright violation of Viacom’s material uploaded on YouTube.

Last week, Viacom’s lawyer claimed that the earlier court was a mistake, because it declared the streaming service eligible for the safe harbor provisions of the DMCA, which was not correct. 13 years ago, upon the completion of the DMCA, Internet service providers got an immunity provision for ISPs following specific guidelines. This included the removal of violating material when rights owners were sending warnings. The defense of the search engine was built on this basis, and the court finally agreed on it.

In respond, Viacom argued that Google wasn’t eligible for safe harbor, pointing at a couple of facts able to sustain its claims. Viacom claimed that the DMCA didn’t just require broadband providers to act when warned about copyright violation, but also to take a stand when being notified of any facts or circumstances implying apparent violating activity.

The DMCA also excludes from safe harbor organizations receiving a financial benefit that is connected with the violating activity, and that’s exactly what YouTube’s infringing advertisements were. The company’s lawyer Paul Smith reminded the court about these facts last week. Viacom insisted that publishing copyrighted content was the very source of success for streaming service, and that such online giant could do more about censoring infringing sites and material.

In respond, the counselor of the search giant opposed the accusations by arguing that the legislation didn’t force streaming service to introduce the most high-tech censoring technologies. Moreover, Google couldn’t do any more about censoring, because it is actually an impossible task. This claim was supported by the example of Viacom’s staff that uploaded Viacom material themselves and then experiencing difficulties with working out which content was legitimate and which wasn’t.

Meanwhile, it seems that Viacom’s attempts to put the streaming service to the wall might be in vain. The experts pointed out that there were a number of cases dating back in 2009, like Veoh and MP3tunes, where the judges granted safe harbor to the services offering media content, based on the DMCA.

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