Ever since Google purchased YouTube, they’ve been getting pretty friendly with the law. Recently, YouTube received a Subpoena from the U.S. District Court in Northern California to identify the user who uploaded episodes of 24, as well as 12 episodes of the Simpsons, both popular shows.
Many people were hoping that Google would not cooperate with this subpoena, and challenge it. In an email to Internetnews.com from Fox, they said that Google, and Live Digital (another movie site) cooperated with the subpoenas and provided Fox with the identities of users who uploaded the shows on both sites.
Speaking to Internetnews.com, Vice President of Media Relations at Fox, Chris Alexander says:
“We intend to use the information provided to pursue all available legal remedies against those who infringed our copyrights,”
Clearly a crime was committed here, however, Google releasing the names doesn’t guarantee that they will be able to track the people down who did this. The users obviously knew that what they were doing was wrong, so chances are they took measures to protect their identities, like using a free wi-fi network, or an Internet cafe to upload the content.
Probably the biggest point of the entire story is that Google complied, and in this situation, I think they should have. Previously, Google has gone to court to challenge previous subpoenas, saying that they do not have to provide search queries to the Department of Justice who were trying to defend the Child Online Protection Act. The judge ruled in their favor.
The main difference here is that Fox was requesting the user IDs of two people, where the Department of Justice was seeking 1 million web addresses.