Can you believe it’s already been a year since Viacom tried to purge Google’s money bank with a $1 billion dollar lawsuit against YouTube? Ever since March of last year (2007) when the lawsuit was filed, we hadn’t really heard much of what was going on, until yesterday. According to the Associated Press, YouTube is claiming that the Viacom suit against them is a threat to online communication. This claim was officially filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan as YouTube’s response to Viacom.
So what exactly does Google mean by this claim? Google said that if they have to become liable for Internet communication, and thus other carriers and hosting providers would have to become liable, Viacom “threatens the way hundreds of millions of people legitimately exchange information, news, entertainment and political and artistic expression.”
What Google has going for them is that they say they do their very best to follow the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. In fact, they believe they go above and beyond what is even required of them, but it’s still not good enough for Viacom. According to Viacom, they have found over 150,000 clips of copyrighted material on YouTube and they say those videos have been viewed over 1.5 billion times. Despite what Google says, that they remove copyrighted content and help content owners protect their work, Viacom says Google does “little or nothing” to help stop the infringement.
It’s turned into a big game of “he said, she said” and from the sounds of it, it’s only going to get uglier before all is said and done. From our knowledge, we believe Google does what they can to keep copyrighted videos off of YouTube, yet Viacom says making those videos available is part of YouTube’s business plan. Heck, YouTube even implemented a copyright filter (which launched back in October) to help identify copyrighted content as it appears on the site. What more can YouTube do? Should they lose this battle with Viacom, I believe they could be right in that it will threaten online communication.