YouTube, Viacom Fight Gets Fiercer

YouTube speaks of secret campaign to upload infringing videos

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Almost exactly three years ago, Viacom sued YouTube for copyright infringement, and since then, neither side has been able to say much in public.  But today, 108 pages’ worth of court documents were released, and YouTube also issued a more comprehensible, 865-word statement.

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In the statement (which was posted on the YouTube Blog), Zahavah Levine, YouTube Chief Counsel, raised several interesting points.  One group of claims made Viacom sound like an absolute villain, too.

Levine wrote, "For years, Viacom continuously and secretly uploaded its content to YouTube, even while publicly complaining about its presence there.  It hired no fewer than 18 different marketing agencies to upload its content to the site.  It deliberately ‘roughed up’ the videos to make them look stolen or leaked.  It opened YouTube accounts using phony email addresses.  It even sent employees to Kinko’s to upload clips from computers that couldn’t be traced to Viacom."

Sound far-fetched?  Well, here’s another accusation of Levin’s, and this one has been verified.  He wrote, "Viacom’s efforts to disguise its promotional use of YouTube worked so well that even its own employees could not keep track of everything it was posting or leaving up on the site.  As a result, on countless occasions Viacom demanded the removal of clips that it had uploaded to YouTube, only to return later to sheepishly ask for their reinstatement.  In fact, some of the very clips that Viacom is suing us over were actually uploaded by Viacom itself."

Obviously, YouTube feels very strongly that it’s in the right.  If a judge decides otherwise (and it remains unknown when a ruling might come down), we remind you: Viacom asked for $1 billion when it first filed its lawsuit.

YouTube, Viacom Fight Gets Fiercer
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  • http://ronaldredito.org/blog Ronald Redito

    Youtube has now its team focusing on copyright infringements which is a good move.

  • Guest

    Yes, but for a site like Comedy Central to remove stuff from Youtube citing copyright infringement and expecting Google to pay $1 Billion to them is ridiculous.

    The LA Times reported that the shows were removed from Hulu as well, but what about Comedy Central’s own website?

    See, first a lot of the content was uploaded by Viacom, like for example Comedy Central content.
    Ok, so they now want to remove it, no big deal, Youtube will comply without reservation.

    The lawsuit argues on a few points, one being that the removal of content hosted on youtube and hulu was a move to not upset those cable and satellite operators who pay for that content.

    Why then are Viacom owned sites like Comedy Central still hosting all their shows on their websites then?
    Why would I pay for Comedy Central if I can get it for free on their website?
    And then why would any Cable or Satellite operator pay for it if their subscribers will not?

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