Viacom Wins YouTube Viewing Records In Court

VPPA ignored, EFF claims

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As part of the discovery process in the ongoing court fight between Viacom and Google, Viacom gained access to the log data for every video viewed on YouTube.

Somewhere within the Viacom arcology, legal researchers will receive the kind of treasure trove of information that online video rivals to YouTube only dream of seeing. Every video viewed, with IP address and user details, becomes another piece of the legal challenge.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation decried the decision by the federal court for the Southern District of New York. EFF attorney Kurt Opsahl said the decision runs counter to the Video Privacy Protection Act (VPPA).

“The Court’s erroneous ruling is a set-back to privacy rights, and will allow Viacom to see what you are watching on YouTube,” said Opsahl. He contended that providing this data to Viacom violates the VPPA where a YouTube username personally identifies the person behind it.

Viacom’s request falls in line with the company’s belief that copyrighted content, and not user-created videos, drives YouTube’s massive traffic and popularity.

In what will likely reverberate around Google HQ, a posting from February 2008 on the Google Public Policy blog argued that an IP address isn’t really a personally identifying piece of information. Judge Louis L. Stanton cited this in his decision.

Viacom Wins YouTube Viewing Records In Court
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