Disney, NBC, Warner Bros., Others Line Up Against YouTube

    May 12, 2010

If moral support determined the outcome of lawsuits, YouTube might be in a whole lot of trouble.  Fourteen organizations – including very important companies like Disney, NBC, and Warner Bros. – have officially declared themselves friends of Viacom by filing a legal brief.

Here’s the full list of Viacom’s new supporters: the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, the Association of American Publishers, BMI, the Center for the Rule of Law, Disney, the Institute for Policy Innovation, the Media Institute, NBC, the Picture Archive Council of America, Professional Photographers of America, Rosetta Stone, SESAC, Warner Bros., and Zuffa.

As for what they had to say, their amicus curiae brief made three arguments: "Congress enacted the DMCA to ensure vigorous copyright protection for digital works," "The Court should not permit service providers that intentionally encourage infringement to hide behind Section 512," and "The ‘right and ability to control’ must be construed in a manner consistent with the meaning given that term in the common law."

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Of course, judges aren’t supposed to put matters to a vote, and Viacom’s own lawyers have probably voiced these points a hundred times, so it’s possible that this development will have no real effect.

Still, it’s a bit startling to see that YouTube’s made so many powerful enemies, and even if Viacom loses this lawsuit, it’s not hard to imagine that the coalition would choose to go after YouTube in some other way, putting it in legal jeopardy for years.