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Viacom Just Wants Google to Stop “Robbing Banks”



Just when we thought the Viacom vs YouTube copyright infringement case was finally behind us, Viacom goes and gets all zombie on us–and raises it from the dead.

If you need background on the lawsuit, we have a boatload of information on it, but bottom line is this: Viacom sued Google claiming its popular TV shows were being illegally uploaded to YouTube. Google claimed safe harbor protection. Google won. Viacom is now appealing…albeit in an unappealing way.

Perhaps the most absurd part of this whole suit is that Google pretty much stopped any illegal uploads back in 2008, but get this: Viacom is suing for all the infringement that happened before then:

Some legal observers have argued that the case has become less significant since it was filed in early 2007. Since then, YouTube, interested in licensing professional content, has voluntarily started using audio and video recognition technology to automatically identify unauthorized clips as they are uploaded and let rights-holders take them down immediately or place ads in the videos to generate revenue. Those systems work well, executives at several media companies have said, and Viacom isn’t suing YouTube for its behavior after mid-2008.

So your neighbor’s dog used to bark its head off back in the day, but the dog has since had a session with the dog whisperer and all is well, yet you still want the dog put down?

Oh, but Viacom’s not in this for the vengence. Oh no sir! This is all about setting a precedent so that other video hosts don’t allow the same infringement:

“It’s as if to say, well we’ve stopped robbing banks, so let’s just forget the whole thing and move on,” [Viacom's attorney] Mr. Olson said. “It is exceedingly important in this era of intellectual property and new creative endeavors that we continue to respect what people create,” her added.

See? This is about protecting us from bank robberies and has nothing whatsoever to do with vengeance. ;-)