Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Viacom Sued Google Over clips they themselves uploaded!


Copyright maximalists who hate the DMCA's safe harbors often claim that service providers can easily tell what content is infringing and which is not. This is, in fact, a key part of the argument made by Viacom in its lawsuit against Google over YouTube. It claims that YouTube must know that the clips are infringing and should be taken down. There's just one problem: even Viacom doesn't seem to know which clips are infringing and which are not. It turns out that, among the many YouTube clips included in the lawsuit, approximately 100 were uploaded on purpose by Viacom. Yes, you read that right:

Viacom sued Google over clips it claimed were infringing, that Viacom purposely uploaded to YouTube.

That alone should show how ridiculous Viacom's claims are in this lawsuit. There is simply no way for Google to know if clips are uploaded legitimately or not. Oddly, however, the court has now allowed Viacom to withdraw those clips, but lawyers like Eric Goldman are questioning how this isn't a Rule 11 violation for frivolous or improper litigation. But, more importantly, it demonstrates that even Viacom has no idea which clips are infringing and which are authorized. Given that, how can it possibly say that it's reasonable for Google to know?

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