Google this week was victorious in a huge legal battle with Viacom over unauthorized content, including The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, being posted to YouTube by users. A federal judge in New York said YouTube had not violated any copyrights, citing a safe-harbor provision in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act; the initial suit was filed back in 2007. Viacom was seeking damages of up to $1 billion.
“The court correctly rejected Viacom’s lawsuit against YouTube, reaffirming that Congress got it right when it comes to copyright on the Internet, Google’s general counsel Kent Walker said. Walker called the victory a win for people who rely on the Internet as an open place to “exchange ideas and information.”
This is actually the second time Viacom has lost a suite with Google, with a similar ruling again citing the safe-harbor provision. The stipulation basically protects a company from liability if they don’t know a specific piece of infringing content existed, or if they worked quickly to remove the material. In the first case Viacom lost in 2010, the judge said because of the sheer amount of content uploaded to YouTube, discovering infringing video is “impractical.”
Viacom said it plans to appeal, and wants to defend “the rights of creative artists.”