Champagne all round at Google, as a judge ruled [pdf link] that YouTube is indeed protected by the safe harbor of the DMCA against claims of copyright infringing content uploaded to the video sharing service. The suit, brought against the site by Viacom, alleged that YouTube either ignored or encouraged copyright infringing clips be uploaded, leveraging that content to build popularity and, thus, make themselves more appealing in the eventual Google acquisition. Bizarrely, at one point Google alleged that Viacom had uploaded its own content – illegally – to YouTube so as to then demand it be taken down.
Viacom, for their part, are “disappointed” by the ruling but “confident” they will win on appeal. They also reiterate that anti-piracy controls were relatively simple to implement – pointing to Google “fixing” the issue with YouTube after Viacom first filed their complaint – and that they believe that before this happened YouTube “stole” content to build a billion dollar business:
“YouTube and Google stole hundreds of thousands of video clips from artists and content creators, including Viacom, building a substantial business that was sold for billions of dollars. We believe that should not be allowed by law or common sense.” Viacom