Google, Viacom Draw Lines In YouTube Suit

    May 7, 2008
    WebProNews Staff

Google needs to fight off Viacom or get the suit dropped if they hope to withstand other potential lawsuits against the YouTube video sharing service over copyright infringement.

A tendency to fight rather than settle its legal tussles will probably see Google keep up a defense against Viacom. The media company sued Google for a billion dollars over alleged copyright infringement in a case that continues to move through the legal process.

Viacom’s venerable patriarch Sumner Redstone isn’t happy about seeing shows like South Park find homes via embedding on sites other than his. He publicly called out YouTube again according to Dow Jones.

“From sites that enable illegal downloading of full length songs and movies…to DVD piracy…to the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted content on services such as YouTube, it’s harder and harder to make money in the media business both for companies and creative artists,” said Redstone.

If Redstone thinks he can cower Google into rolling over rather than fighting back, the search company wishes to change his mind. A Google representative publicly stated a settlement with Viacom is not in the cards, as BusinessWeek noted.

“We’re going all the way to the Supreme Court,” David Eun, vice president in charge of content partnerships at Google, said in the report. “We’re very clear about it.”

‘It’ is the issue of copyright infringement and the safe harbor provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Under safe harbor, a site must take down infringing content upon receiving notice from the copyright holder.

Safe harbor puts the burden of detecting offending material on the rightsholder, for example, Viacom. Without safe harbor, sites and Internet service providers face the added expense of sifting through material on an ongoing basis.

Google has no desire to be legally liable for user activity covered under the DMCA, setting the stage for what should be a protracted legal battle, judging by the rhetoric coming from both sides. However, things change, and the settlement both sides claim won’t happen could take place at any time.