Viacom has filed a $1 billion
copyright infringement suit against Google. Viacom says Google's YouTube sevice
is hosting 160,000 infringing works, which have been viewed 1.5 billion times.
It alleges that YouTube "is a significant, for-profit organization that has
built a lucrative business out of exploiting the devotion of fans to others'
creative works in order to enrich itself and its corporate parent Google. Their
business model, which is based on building traffic and selling advertising off
of unlicensed content, is clearly illegal and is in obvious conflict with
Google managing counsel Michael
Kwun wrote a peppered letter with the title "An
End Run on Copyright Law" to the Washington Post in regards to the Viacom/
YouTube court case: "...Viacom is attempting to rewrite established copyright
law through a baseless lawsuit. In February, after negotiations broke down,
Viacom requested that YouTube take down more than 100,000 videos. We did so
immediately, working through a weekend. Viacom later withdrew some of those
requests, apparently realizing that those videos were not infringing, after all.
Though Viacom seems unable to determine what constitutes infringing content, its
lawyers believe that we should have the responsibility and ability to do it for
them. Fortunately, the law is clear, and on our side."
March 14, 2007: Declan,
YouTube's fate rests on decade-old copyright law, ZDNet:
"Whether YouTube suffers the same fate as Napster may depend on the wording
of a nearly antique law written long before video-sharing Web sites were
March 13, 2007:
Analysts: YouTube lawsuit may boost rivals, CNN:
"Viacom's billion-dollar legal gambit against Google could lead to more
media industry lawsuits and give a boost to rival online video services in
the emerging marketplace."