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Viacom And Google – The Next Day

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A showdown between a content creator and the dominant search advertising company over the YouTube video sharing site continued to draw speculation over how the $1 billion lawsuit could end.

Viacom And Google - The Next Day
Viacom And Google – The Next Day

Viacom calls YouTube a massive copyright infringer. Google says its operating within the law, particularly provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The US District Court for the Southern District of New York could decide who is right, unless a settlement happens first.

Mark Cuban hopes Viacom holds Google’s feet to the fire. A long-time YouTube critic, Cuban has personally sparred with Google over copyright infringement. His latest comments blasted Google for ignoring copyright infringement while profiting from it:

Google blew it. They had no confidence in user generated content generating enough traffic to drive Youtube so they closed their eyes to the obvious. There is absolutely no value to a media company in letting users actually upload video.

If the suit takes a long time, it will be money well spent in Cuban’s opinion (minor edits here because Cuban seems to hate apostrophes more than refereeing practices in the NBA):

My hope is that this lawsuit is not a negotiating ploy. I dont think it is. Why? Because there is no downside to Viacom to run this one out to the end. If they win the suit, they make their Billion Dollars, which given this lawsuit could take years, could grow to 10s of Billions in damages if Gootube doesn’t take any action to stop the ongoing infringing uploaders.

If Viacom loses, they lose legal fees of course, but Google still has to negotiate to get their content. The only real hassle is that Viacom must continue to send takedown notices. That’s such an easy choice, 10mm in legal fees vs the potential for BILLIONS and BILLIONS of dollars. It’s so easy, that I expect many suits to follow this one.

Google’s stance has been that the safe harbor provisions of the DMCA protect the company from lawsuits like Viacom’s action:

"Here there is a law which is specifically designed to give Web hosts such as us, or… bloggers or people that provide photo-album hosting online … the ‘safe harbor’ we need in order to be able to do hosting online," said Alexander Macgillivray, Google’s associate general counsel for products and intellectual property.

"We will never launch a product or acquire a company unless we are completely satisfied with its legal basis for operating," Macgillivray told Reuters in an interview.

David Card at JupiterResearch thinks there is a greater danger to Big Media companies at stake:

Maybe the Digital Millennium Copyright Act is nuts. But isn’t the real risk of Viacom suing Google that perhaps a real, live court case will uphold the safe harbor provision? That is, Google’s argument: "Hey, it’s not my problem — if you show me the copyrighted stuff, I’ll take it down. But I don’t have to do anything till you show me."

Won’t Mark Cuban be surprised if that happens.

Viacom And Google – The Next Day
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