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Google Businesses The Internet

Viacom Looks For Google Staff Uploads in YouTube Logs 308

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the behold-the-data dept.
Barence writes "Viacom wants to know which YouTube videos have been uploaded by members of Google's staff, in what could be a potentially explosive aspect of its copyright infringement claim against the search giant."
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Viacom Looks For Google Staff Uploads in YouTube Logs

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  • Pointless... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Darkness404 (1287218) on Monday July 14, 2008 @12:31PM (#24182687)
    What Viacom is doing is absolutely pointless. Want to make money? Have free downloads of *all* your shows on your website. And upload a bunch on YouTube too, why? Because YouTube is an easy way to watch videos, and I believe that Google will pay you to have ads in your videos.
    • Re:Pointless... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mark72005 (1233572) on Monday July 14, 2008 @12:36PM (#24182771)
      Why would someone download video clips with embedded ads if there were another source for the same clips without the ads?

      There's going to be a showdown here, because i don't think the internet ads model generates a lot of revenue. Naturally Viacom wants people watching their programs on TV only so they can keep ratings up and TV ad revenues up.

      I'm not a fan of Viacom's behavior either, but it seems strange to suggest that they would make more money that way.
      • by mweather (1089505)
        Then Viacom needs to push for video on demand, because that's the only thing that can save TV. Even then, you've basically got the Int
      • Re:Pointless... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Darkness404 (1287218) on Monday July 14, 2008 @12:47PM (#24182941)

        Why would someone download video clips with embedded ads if there were another source for the same clips without the ads?

        Why would someone use an OS that is proprietary and expensive when there is a free OS that is open source and costs nothing? Convenience. Same idea here, people will go where it is convenient, be it Viacom's site, YouTube or TPB.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by felipekk (1007591)

          Wrong analogy. Regarding the videos, with or without ads the content is basically the same. On your OS comparison, the content is 100% different.

          A correct version of your analogy would be: why would someone use a OS build with ads on it instead of the same build without ads?

          The answer is still the same, though: convenience.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by phoomp (1098855)
            The OS is not the content. It is only the means of delivering the content. Slashdot looks exactly the same through Windows, Linux or MacOS.
        • Re:Pointless... (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Mordok-DestroyerOfWo (1000167) on Monday July 14, 2008 @01:52PM (#24183987)
          I've been using hulu.com for a lot of stuff. I really don't mind the ads playing every 15 minutes or so. They're unobtrusive, no louder than the show, and they're not the same one every time. Plus the quality is substantially higher than youtube even if the selection isn't quite the same. It's how I get my Daily Show fix every day. The only trouble is the money goes to Mark Cuban but it's a small price to pay.
      • Re:Pointless... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Captain Hook (923766) on Monday July 14, 2008 @01:10PM (#24183271)

        I don't think the internet ads model generates a lot of revenue. Naturally Viacom wants people watching their programs on TV only so they can keep ratings up and TV ad revenues up.

        I've always wondered about that. If internet advertising doesn't work, why does TV advertising? I suppose it could just be audience size, but if advertisers are so good at their job, why can't they produce more tailored ad campaigns for a more fractured audience given how much more (potentially at least) they know about the person seeing the ad.

        The one thing Internet advertising has given ad managers is more accurate information on response rates. How do you measure TV response rate, the number of people phoning a number asking for a product after a advert goes out? that would seem to give vague numbers at best.

        Perhaps it's just more honest response rate which are harder to hide that ad managers dislike about Internet advertising.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by cliffski (65094)

          TVs do not (generally) have the equivalent of adblock. And there is no easy way to totally cover the users monitor for five minutes of fullscreen ads on the web that they cannot disable.
          It's totally different.

          Internet advertising does work, but the payback per ad view is trivially small. I've experimented with ads on my site, and the revenue is even more laughable after the ad managers take their cut.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by jedidiah (1196)

            > TVs do not (generally) have the equivalent of adblock.

            Sure they do. It's called a Tivo.

            The content can be freely recorded and played back in any
            fashion you like. You can even cut out the commercials if
            you really want or just skip over them in 30 second intervals.

            Hulu is a huge step backwards.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by sm62704 (957197)

        Why would someone download video clips with embedded ads if there were another source for the same clips without the ads?

        Why do people watch movies on TV when you can rent the DVD for a dollar and see it ad-free, uncut, uninterrupted, uncensored, in your choice of widescreen or standard, that you can pause to go to the bathroom?

        I was watching What Women Want this past weekend at a friend's house (I don't have cable) and was appalled that cable keeps sucking more and more. In the early eighties movies were u

        • I've always been surprised they don't use one sponsor per ad. I'm a soccer fan...football for all you non-Americans out there...and I've always loved the early attempt at having few commercial interruptions by getting the occasional flash of "This program is brought to you by..." across the bottom of the screen. That would seem like a simpler ad model to me, and relatively unobtrusive.

          But hey, I'm not the kind of guy they tend to advertise too. I don't buy stuff.

    • Re:Pointless... (Score:5, Informative)

      by pieterh (196118) on Monday July 14, 2008 @12:41PM (#24182851) Homepage

      Well, SouthParkStudios.com proves this. But Viacom is not interested in looking for new business models. They are looking to protect their existing business models, and YouTube hurts these.

      The thing is, it's not sharing clips that hurts Viacom's business. That probably helps, free publicity for programs.

      What hurts Viacom is user-generated content: eyeballs going to watch stuff that is produced totally outside the normal distribution model.

      So Viacom is not IMO trying to protect its copyrighted content. What it wants to do is scare people who use YouTube into thinking "my personal data ain't safe", to create a chilling effect that will stop user-created content.

      Imagine if Viacom had been infiltrated by Scientologists and they could now get access to logs of who uploaded, and who watched, videos by Anonymous. It's not likely but the mere idea this could happen will drive some people away, fracture the community, and make passive TV watching seem safer again.

      OTOH, Viacom, not being an Internet company, does not realize that this kind of attack on a community always has the exact opposite effect.

      So the result will be a hundred new video sharing sites, and a much more difficult situation for Viacom, both for copyright takedowns, and for competition to their programming.

      • Re:Pointless... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Jellybob (597204) on Monday July 14, 2008 @12:51PM (#24183031) Journal

        What hurts Viacom is user-generated content: eyeballs going to watch stuff that is produced totally outside the normal distribution model.

        While it would be nice to think that was the case, I don't think it's really happening yet. Sure, people will go and watch a few user created videos when there's nothing new to read on Slashdot during their lunch break, but I can't see the family gathering round the computer to watch "Jim's Low Budget Talent Show" in the same way as they would for "The X-Factor".

        That might change at some point in the future, but from my highly unscientific surveys, most people browsing YouTube are doing it to watch clips from Top Gear and the like.

        • Re:Pointless... (Score:5, Interesting)

          by pieterh (196118) on Monday July 14, 2008 @01:02PM (#24183177) Homepage

          Totally unscientific survey: my 4-year old daughter prefers to browse YouTube than television. Admittedly she tends to follow pop videos. But she prefers the mouse to the TV remote.

          If it's true that people use YouTube to watch clips from TV programs, then Viacom are even stupider than I thought...

          But stupid or not, this seems to be the start of the TV industry joining the music and movie and telecoms businesses in attacking the open Internet.

          I wonder what kind of Internet my daughter will have when she grows up.

          • by jwriney (16598) on Monday July 14, 2008 @01:32PM (#24183637) Homepage

            I wonder what kind of Internet my daughter will have when she grows up.

            Don't worry, it'll still have porn on it.

            --riney

            • by PachmanP (881352)
              But you'd probably have to pay for it at which point you must ask what's the point of the internets if there is no more free pr0n.
          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward

            She won't know the magic that we knew...

            Imagine... right now you can type in a few words from any song, any movie... and in less then a minute be watching it somewhere.

            You can tell google the few words of the song you remember, and it can tell you the lyrics.

            You can have a friend over, and say "I saw a comic last night on TV, you'll love this guy" and have it up to show him as you're saying it.

            THIS is what the internet is capable of, the magical world of data transfer we dance in daily. And this is what th

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Darkness404 (1287218)

          While it would be nice to think that was the case, I don't think it's really happening yet. Sure, people will go and watch a few user created videos when there's nothing new to read on Slashdot during their lunch break, but I can't see the family gathering round the computer to watch "Jim's Low Budget Talent Show" in the same way as they would for "The X-Factor".

          No, but think about how many people make and watch say, fan-made music videos. And think of all the internet memes that have happened because of user-made content. Sure, user-made content won't have the same appeal as major shows, but I think that a lot of people spend an hour watching user-made content and might watch 2 hours of "normal" TV.

        • by Roxton (73137)

          True, but replace "user-generated content" with "independently-generated content" and you might see what the fuss is.

          Viacom and the other content networks control the set of content that is seen by a mainstream audience. Not only that, but they control the revenue model of people who make television shows.

          Right now, independent producers are locked out. They cannot get investors, create a show, and put it where people can and will see it. If YouTube becomes a popular place to get content (it's not hard t

    • Re:Pointless... (Score:5, Insightful)

      What Viacom is doing is absolutely pointless. Want to make money? Have free downloads of *all* your shows on your website. And upload a bunch on YouTube too, why? Because YouTube is an easy way to watch videos, and I believe that Google will pay you to have ads in your videos.

      That's like a movie theater making an illegal print of a movie, showing it in their theaters, then sending a token $1 for each showing back to the theater. And when the studios complain, they say, "Shaddup. What are you complaining about? You're making money, aren't you?"

      Maybe Viacom (and anyone else) want to be able to decide where their work shows and how much money it makes.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Darkness404 (1287218)

        Maybe Viacom (and anyone else) want to be able to decide where their work shows and how much money it makes.

        Umm... Lets see. Which is going to get more views, either A) an episode that gets shown on TV say 10 times a year or B) the same episode that is online for viewing 24/7. More views == more money, granted, online distribution has a slightly lower profit margin, but it also has slightly lower costs.

        And by regulating, who can see their work, they are missing out on a whole bunch of fans. Anime proved this. Sure, people download anime from Japan, translate it and repost it, but as the Anime studios figure

        • I generally agree with this and several other comments you've made here. But just to play devil's advocate ... what about scarcity? If supply and demand set pricing in a market, controlling access to a piece of media reduces its availability. By controlling supply, theoretically they can get a higher price in return (ie, the TV ad spots will go for more than the web ads).

          But as you pointed out, they, like many other traditional media outlets, have forgotten the demand side of the equation. If consum
          • generally agree with this and several other comments you've made here. But just to play devil's advocate ... what about scarcity? If supply and demand set pricing in a market, controlling access to a piece of media reduces its availability. By controlling supply, theoretically they can get a higher price in return (ie, the TV ad spots will go for more than the web ads).

            Ah, but you are forgetting one thing. Premiers. There is a reason that Super Bowl ads run outrageous prices, not because it will only be shown once, but because people will watch it the first time it shows. Season premiers along with season finales are a great way for Viacom to rack up TV ad revenue. No one will care if it is the end/beginning of a season when it goes to reruns. And I am assuming that Viacom won't put the episode online for, say a week after it gets broadcast. So yes, the web ads will not

        • by cliffski (65094)

          Your tone suggests you know more about the video content industry than Viacom do, which suggests you must own a multi-billion dollar business right?

          believe it or not, the people running movie and TV studios know a lot more about their business, how it makes money, how much money, from who, under what circumstances, than any of us here posting on slashdot.

          there is a general tone when getting annoyed at copyright, that people adopt which runs along the lines of "why can't they numbskulls see that X would make

          • Your tone suggests you know more about the video content industry than Viacom do, which suggests you must own a multi-billion dollar business right?

            No, but I do probobly know more about the nature of the internet than Viacom does. As so most of us here on /. .

            Could it not be that they *do* know how much they have to lose from having their content on youtube, and that they *do* know how much it gets them in terms of advertising, and have decided that they would prefer not to have that content available free for damned good business reasons.

            It could. But being as Viacom never put anything on YouTube they obviously couldn't have figured out how much money it would have made. And given from their tones about the lawsuit, many many people watched Viacom materiel on YouTube, if anything else that would mean that they have that much to gain in pure profit by uploading to YouTube.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            Your tone suggests you know more about the video content industry than Viacom do, which suggests you must own a multi-billion dollar business right?

            No. Instead, he's a customer. You know, those people that give their money to these corps in exchange for content. How they could get him to spend more money is entirely relevent.

            believe it or not, the people running movie and TV studios know a lot more about their business, how it makes money, how much money, from who, under what circumstances, than any of us here posting on slashdot.

            Fun fact: The 'business' fought home recording tooth and nail for fears that copying would kill the industry. Now we have DVD sales rescuing cancelled TV shows and box-office bombs turning a profit. They didn't know their customers.

            Could it not be that they *do* know how much they have to lose from having their content on youtube, and that they *do* know how much it gets them in terms of advertising, and have decided that they would prefer not to have that content available free for damned good business reasons.

            Despite history telling them a different story, they assume everybody'll put a ridiculous amoun

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by plasmacutter (901737)

        because we all know movie studios are special, holy, blameless businesses who are utterly 'entitled' to profit.

        The viability of these industries' business models is gone, kaput, byebye.

        The continued facilitation of their nuking every potentially viable replacement off the economic map is orders of magnitude worse than the proverbial "welfare queen".

        Not only are they leeching money off our economy directly through legalized extortion, they are strangling new sectors which could actually create jobs in the cr

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by cliffski (65094)

          eh?

          By removing all of THEIR content from youtube, surely they are leaving this exciting new sector WIDE OPEN to people who want to (for some reason) make program they release for free?

          If their 'business model is dead' (yawn) then you should be happy to see the product of such a dinosaur-system of content removed from youtube...
          You can't have it both ways.

          • If their 'business model is dead' (yawn) then you should be happy to see the product of such a dinosaur-system of content removed from youtube... You can't have it both ways.

            It is the distribution model that is dead. And so this is taking out the old distribution model from the show, and put it in the new, better model of distributing shows.

          • Re:Pointless... (Score:5, Insightful)

            by jedidiah (1196) on Monday July 14, 2008 @02:30PM (#24184577) Homepage

            He is suggesting no such thing.

            Viacom bought the relevant law: the DMCA. Now they are mad because
            they have to use it in order to get stuff purged from YouTube.

            Viacom is upset because they have to use the law that they bought
            and paid for. Boo hoo.

            This is NOT about letting the shoplifters run amok in the candy store.

            This is about Cadbury going house to house with stormtroopers.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Hyppy (74366)

        Maybe Viacom (and anyone else) want to be able to decide where their work shows and how much money it makes.

        No, they should be able to decide how much to CHARGE. Very distinct and important difference.

        • No, they should be able to decide how much to CHARGE. Very distinct and important difference.

          That's what I meant, though I phrased it poorly. :)

      • Re:Pointless... (Score:4, Informative)

        by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Monday July 14, 2008 @01:30PM (#24183583) Journal

        That's like a movie theater making an illegal print of a movie, showing it in their theaters, then sending a token $1 for each showing back to the theater. And when the studios complain, they say, "Shaddup. What are you complaining about? You're making money, aren't you?"

        Oddly enough, this is exactly how radio works. As I understand it, anyone is allowed to play any song on any radio, so long as they pay their royalties through a system which has been established for this purpose.

        I'm not going to say whether that's a good thing, just interesting.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          Oddly enough, this is exactly how radio works. As I understand it, anyone is allowed to play any song on any radio, so long as they pay their royalties through a system which has been established for this purpose.

          Yes, but the royalties are negotiated among both partners. You can get a license for a public performance of a movie as well, if you want to.

          Now, it would be interesting if there was some sort of radio model for movies, but the difference is that radio stations choose the play list. They don't ju

    • so true Darkness404. All viacom has to do is what the music companies SHOULD have done: rather than whine about it join them or design their own site with higher quality and ditch the commercials because we flat out hate them. That's the underlieing issue with suppossed video copying: we despise the old way of being forced into commercials. New media is all about choice, not force.
    • Hulu already did it.
      • Hulu already did it.

        And how many people go to Hulu compared to YouTube? No one I know ever goes to Hulu, in fact I had to Wikipedia it to see what it even was. And from the Wikipedia article

        Hulu videos are currently offered only to users in the United States.[3]

        that nearly negates the effect of the internet in building a fanbase.

  • Good! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Just Some Guy (3352) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Monday July 14, 2008 @12:31PM (#24182703) Homepage Journal

    While I dislike the action, it gives Google (and ever other major corporation) a reason to care about my privacy rights. Hate the means; love the ends.

    • by exley (221867)

      While I dislike the action, it gives Google (and ever other major corporation) a reason to care about my privacy rights. Hate the means; love the ends.

      Well, it gives Google and companies like them reason to care about their privacy rights. If you're lucky "trade secrets" will be threatened and your privacy will be protected as a convenient side effect.

  • common sense (Score:5, Insightful)

    by caffeinemessiah (918089) on Monday July 14, 2008 @12:31PM (#24182713) Journal
    Now I'm no expert, but it seems like if your company is involved in a lawsuit with Corporation X, you probably shouldn't patronize the services of Corporation X, or you might lose your job.

    Common sense aside, uploading copyrighted videos is clearly against any corporate internet use policy. Why should Google be held liable for the illegal actions of its employees? It's not like Google encouraged its employees to upload the Daily Show. If that doesn't hold up in court, you just got yourself a convenient way to screw your employer (convenient if, for example, you were planning on leaving the country).

  • by free space (13714) on Monday July 14, 2008 @12:32PM (#24182727)

    If it was uploaded by Google's staff as part of their paid job, then yes, Google is intentionally infringing their copyright.
    But why would Google be blamed for an employee acting on his own to upload something?

    • by atari2600 (545988)

      Not sure but using Google's resources to do the act of uploading might involve Google.

      • by Jellybob (597204)

        And if I were to send an e-mail using my personal address to arrange a drug deal right now, it would involve my employer's resources.

        It wouldn't however make my employer guilty of attempting to supply controlled substances.

        • by atari2600 (545988)

          Not a great analogy but let's try to fix that: try replacing "personal email address" with "company email address" to arrange your drug deal and your employer would be involved in some way.

    • by Hatta (162192) on Monday July 14, 2008 @12:49PM (#24182971) Journal

      What I want to know is how many Viacom owned clips were uploaded by Viacom employees. I bet there were more uploaded by Viacom employees than Google employees.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 14, 2008 @01:29PM (#24183547)

        In the Viacom board room:

        "One of our own employees is uploading to YouTube? I don't know who this Jon Stewart guy is, but I want his head on a silver platter!"

      • by sm62704 (957197)

        Seems like this may be something Viacom is after. How else would a good quality new release get on the internet? Maybe Viacom wants to downsize without paying unemployment insurance.

      • by _KiTA_ (241027)

        What I want to know is how many Viacom owned clips were uploaded by Viacom employees. I bet there were more uploaded by Viacom employees than Google employees.

        Sssh, don't let the judge hear you, they might start using common sense, and we all know Common sense just screws up a good lawyerin'.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It's called vicarious liability, or respondeat superior.

      So long as what they were doing was connected to work, (which uploading videos on their own service likely is,) as opposed to "frolic and detour," Google could easily be on the hook.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vicarious_liability

    • by randalotto (1206870) on Monday July 14, 2008 @12:55PM (#24183093)
      Let me try that again: So long as what they were doing was connected to work, (which uploading videos on their own service likely is,) or was a mere "detour," as opposed to an independent "frolic," Google could easily be on the hook. It's called vicarious liability, or respondeat superior. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vicarious_liability [wikipedia.org]
    • by Wee (17189) on Monday July 14, 2008 @02:42PM (#24184753)
      Viacom can take a look at all four of my uploads as a Google employee. I'm sure they'll love the vacation movies the in-laws wanted to see...

      Though I don't understand why it matters if I uploaded something on my own time or not. I was allowed to do all sorts of things on my own time. Sure, I probably couldn't start another search engine, but if I wanted to upload a couple short clips from Comedy Central or whatever, who cares? If it's 10pm at night and I'm at home using my own hardware, what the hell does it matter that I work for Google? I mean, sure, if it's not Fair Use, they could come after me personally, whatever. But I fail to see the connection to my workplace.

      -B

  • whatever you think of this, it is very clever on the part of Viacom.
  • by JCSoRocks (1142053) on Monday July 14, 2008 @12:36PM (#24182775)
    Hmm, just RTFA. With a company the size of google I don't see how just demonstrating that an employee is uploading copyrighted content is good enough. Just because the janitor / cafeteria lady / lead developer for Blogger is doing it doesn't mean that the people in the YouTube group knew they were. (I'm saying this knowing full well that Viacom is just trying to legally prove what everyone else already knows - of course the YouTube guys know people are putting copyrighted stuff on there.)
  • Staff posting? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Wowsers (1151731) on Monday July 14, 2008 @12:36PM (#24182781) Journal

    Would staff be posting Viacom material from their work place? More likely if any video was posted to Youtube, they would do it from their homes, which are NOT under googles (or any other employers) control. Viacom could therefore go jump at making tenuous connections between being employed by company x, and company x endorsing some behaviour.

    • Re:Staff posting? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by atari2600 (545988) on Monday July 14, 2008 @12:46PM (#24182927)

      You'd be surprised what a night shift can do to people. That and the amenities Google provides to its employees, chances are you will find more than a few employees working late into the night and then taking a 30minute break *cough*. It's speculation but the point is it is quite possible for someone to upload copyrighted stuff using "employer resources".

    • by Rary (566291)

      Most likely, employees have a YouTube account that is set up specifically for work purposes. They may also have a personal YouTube account, but that's not likely what's relevant here. What's relevant is their work account. If an employee posts a video using that account, it can be assumed that it was done so with the company's knowledge. If they did it from home, that wouldn't mean anything since employees can work from home.

  • by atari2600 (545988) on Monday July 14, 2008 @12:37PM (#24182795)

    Surely there must be a few viacom employees (or employees of its partners) who have either watched or uploaded or both (and I am talking about copyrighted crap) videos to Youtube. How about looking for them?

    Hell how about looking for MS employees? or Boeing? Might as well look for everything..Good luck Viacom /spit.

    • by SpeedyDX (1014595)

      How would you know that they are not looking at their own employees? Seems like a good way to get "fair" grounds for dismissal.

  • by autophile (640621) on Monday July 14, 2008 @12:39PM (#24182825)

    I'll bet Google is thinking that maybe keeping identifiable logs isn't such a good idea now...

  • what the internet has done to intellectual property is pit the little guys against entrenched dying large corporate machines. usually all the little guy can do is run and hide. but when its corporate machine versus corporate machine cast in the role usually occupied by the little guy, this is good because google can throw clout into a fight where the little guy can only hope to be popped like a zit. so precedents can fly out of this that can protect the little guy

    • this is good because google can throw clout into a fight where the little guy can only hope to be popped like a zit. so precedents can fly out of this that can protect the little guy

      or precedents which utterly destroy the big guys who provide what little clout there is for the little guy.

      • were viacom to win, the laws would be protecting a dead status quo that will be ignored technologically anyways. were google to win, the law would suddenly be relevant again

        its not possible to lose, just possible for the little guy to breathe a little easier and not worry about getting unlucky and suffering the occasional smackdown by a dying dinosaur

        the laws on intellectual property are simply invalid in the age of the internet

        ip laws are easily technologically circumvented. ip laws today exist solely as a

  • Missing the point (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Achromatic1978 (916097) <robert@chromablu[ ]et ['e.n' in gap]> on Monday July 14, 2008 @12:46PM (#24182921)
    So they're looking for Google employees doing the uploading, at Google (as determined by IP addresses).

    If someone's employee goes above and beyond the call of duty to help you, that reflects on them as a company.

    If the employee screws you over, that reflects on them as a company. Say a middle manager denies you your refund on a defective product. Now, to listen to several people above, "What problem is it of the store's that the manager ignored consumer protection laws?" - should the manager be sued or personally liable? Of course you'd go after the company.

    If you get screwed by an employee out of their mandate (say, copying your credit card number down, something clearly not in their job description), you still don't go after the person. You'd be suing their employer for the actions of their employee on the job. Vicarious liability. (Of course, the employee would also be guilty of criminal charges.) Any loss inflicted on the company would either be picked up by civil suit between employer and employee or professional insurance, etc.

    Why would this be any different?

    • Re:Missing the point (Score:5, Informative)

      by danzona (779560) on Monday July 14, 2008 @01:09PM (#24183257)
      I read TFA, and according to the article, the logic goes something like this:

      Viacom: YouTube shows our copyrighted material. Google, you own YouTube and a lot of money, give us some of your money or else.
      Google: Safe Harbor defense! Under the DMCA, we can't be held liable if somebody else posts copyrighted material on a site we host, if we don't know that these strangers are posting copyrighted material.

      So Viacom thinks that if they can show that Google employees knowing posted copyrighted materials to YouTube, then Google won't be covered by the Safe Harbor defense.

      This is what TFA says. I have no idea if that is what Viacom is actually doing, or if it would even work. But it is interesting.
      • by zotz (3951)

        "So Viacom thinks that if they can show that Google employees knowing posted copyrighted materials to YouTube, then Google won't be covered by the Safe Harbor defense."

        I wonder what would happen if Google can show that Viacom employees posted:

        1. Materials which Viacom claims violate Viacom's copyrights.

        2. Materials which other entities claim violate their own copyrights.

        Mind you, this whole thing is nasty and I think the judge went way overboard and that this shows up google's mistake in keeping this info a

  • by Der Huhn Teufel (688813) on Monday July 14, 2008 @12:53PM (#24183053)
    ...that they really don't care about their copyrights, they just want the cash. After all, why else would you go after the people with more money rather than the people with the most infringements.
  • by clone53421 (1310749) on Monday July 14, 2008 @12:59PM (#24183143) Journal

    ...they're individuals. Doesn't this go against Viacom's original claim that they weren't trying to identify particular individuals?

  • Its the only thing that would make sense for their lawsuit.

    Via says youtube profits from their content in a proactive manner. So this is a good way to prove it.

  • When you are bleeding money like this [yahoo.com], you have to do something. That's also why the NAB (which is just a lobbyist front for big media to maintain their monopoly) is trying so desperately to block the XM / Sirius merger.

    • At least link to the chart [yahoo.com] so we can see what's going on. Viacom was going pretty steady until last May, then it suddenly started to nosedive. Anybody know what happened?
  • They could not care less about the laggy, buggy, extremely-low quality you-tube ripoffs of their shows & movies.

    Viacom is in financial trouble, and Google is big and have a lot of money. Viacom are already pretty known for being "big bad money bulleys", just google for those viacom satellite customers by the thousands that are forced to keep flawed subscriptions even though they don't use it - and Viacom has been up in the news several times for their "bullying" tactics of the common public.

    Pure corpora

  • WTF (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 14, 2008 @01:21PM (#24183431)

    Google should just buy Viacom

  • Change Your Model (Score:4, Insightful)

    by kellyb9 (954229) on Monday July 14, 2008 @02:18PM (#24184387)
    If I were Viacom, I'd certainly be upset about Google making money off of my property (which is what's happening in reality), but instead of getting into a legal battle with them, why not work with them? Lets face it, Viacom is part of a dying distribution model. I think part of the frustration stems from the fact that regardless of how you provide your content, it will ultimately be uploaded to YouTube. But if that's the case, why not provide ad-based content through YouTube? Ideally, a situation like this makes everyone happy, and I'm sure Google would be happy to work with you. Eh, just a thought, I'm not economist or anything.
  • by Mizchief (1261476) on Monday July 14, 2008 @03:20PM (#24185439)
    Even if Google purposefully used Viacom's content that is no reason Google should have to give away it's property, the log files for usage statistics. If a walmart employ steals a CD from Target, that doesn't give Target the right to start stealing Plasmas from Wal-mart. This is a wide-net search for illegal activities of private citizens as well as international viewers. To me that is a clear violation of the 4th amendment. The judge should have ruled that it is the burden of Viacom to find the specific videos that violate their IP rights and notify YouTube of infringement. At that point either the video is taken down or they pay off Viacom to use the video on a case-by-case basis. If I were the Viacom CEO I would work out a deal where Viacom would either sell high-quality clips or better yet offer them in exchange for the user statistics inorder to better judge who likes certian shows so they can use more targeted ads during their TV and full-length web showings. It seems to me that many big Corps care more about using their power to bully people around than they do about actually making money, or to increase profits in other related markets. Ex. A Record label that owns CD producing factories have more incentive to kill mp3's since 10 CD sales gives them a higher net profit than 100 iTunes downloads. Personally I like watching HDTV better than crappy web videos for full-length TV shows, but in case I miss the broadcast of "The Office" it's nice to watch it on the web the next day at work so that i'm not out of the loop for the next broadcast.

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