Today, the court granted our motion for summary judgment in Viacom’s lawsuit with YouTube. This means that the court has decided that YouTube is protected by the safe harbor of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) against claims of copyright infringement. The decision follows established judicial consensus that online services like YouTube are protected when they work cooperatively with copyright holders to help them manage their rights online.
The key to this entire argument and result is that YouTube worked cooperatively. They didn’t pirate anything, per se. Copyrighted material that was on YouTube was taken down as pointed out by the Judge in the case. The Washington Post reports
“When they (YouTube) received specific notice that a particular item infringed a copyright, they swiftly removed it,” Judge Louis Stanton, of the U.S. District Court of the Southern District Court of New York wrote in his summary judgement order released Wednesday. “It is uncontroverted that all the clips in suit are off the YouTube website, most having been removed in response to DMCA takedown notices.”
Those actions protected Google from liability for copyright violations, the judge said.
This ruling was of interest to others who filed friend-of-the-court briefs in favor of YouTube’s position. Among these ‘friends’ were Facebook, Yahoo and IAC/Interactive. It’s pretty obvious why they needed a YouTube victory here.
Of course, Viacom disagrees and will appeal. They feel that the ruling is not honoring the spirit of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act. Oh well for now.
Others on the outside think that this is a fair agreement.
Public Knowledge, a public advocacy group, said the decision strikes a good balance for content and Web services companies.
“The burden to point out allegations of infringement is with the content provider, and the burden of taking down material lies with the service provider,” said Sherwin Siy, deputy legal director of Public Knowledge. “Had Viacom won this case, that burden would have shifted dramatically. As the law now stands, prompt compliance with take-down notices shields an online service provider from liability.”
Looks like this could all lead to the advent of a new cottage industry, OVM, otherwise known as online video monitoring / management. Hey Andy, do you have a solution for that?