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Viacom vs. YouTube - Whose Side Are You On? 353

DigitalDame2 writes "Lance Ulanoff of PCMag believes that the Viacom and YouTube lawsuit is a bad idea because it has the potential to damage the burgeoning online video business; instead, it could work with the millions of people who are currently viewing Viacom content on YouTube. On the other side, Jim Louderback, an editor-in-chief of PCMag says that Lance doesn't know what he's talking about: with all the content available online for free, Viacom can kiss those investments goodbye. YouTube is actively filtering, actively allowing uploads, and making money off of the content that's been uploaded. The courts will find that Viacom has been wronged, that Google has not done enough to protect the rights of copyright holders, and that Google owes Viacom reparations. Whose side are you on?"
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Viacom vs. YouTube - Whose Side Are You On?

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  • somewhere between! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DriveDog ( 822962 ) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @05:30PM (#18368083)
    Success by Viacom in getting commercial stuff removed but no major fees rewarded would be perfect... less commercial stuff on YouTube.
    • They are pulling damage figures out of their ass. If anything the appearance on YouTube increases the appreciation of their programming. Naturally they would like to like to stream them through their own advertiser supported network. Damages should not be an issue, just copyright honoring.
      • by teh_chrizzle ( 963897 ) <> on Thursday March 15, 2007 @06:21PM (#18368725) Homepage

        They are pulling damage figures out of their ass.

        and just where else would you pull estimated damages for unauthorized sharing from?

        everyone in the intellectual property business pulls damages out of thier ass... that's standard operating procedure. the IP business is about selling stuff that doesn't really exist... it's stuff you pull it out of your ass and sell to other people. clearly, if someone distributes your imaginary product without your authorization, you can sue them for all of the imaginary sales that you have lost out on. as long as we are working in the realm of the imagination, you might as well imagine big and try to jack google for a billion dollars.

    • by Seumas ( 6865 ) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @05:59PM (#18368479)
      I'm tired of companies getting rich off of questionable or illegal practices and then, once they have a massive userbase, suddenly selling out to someone to go legit. It's what the original youtube did. It's what Napster did. Imagine if I started up a car dealership and instead of paying for my own cars to stock my dealership, I went down the street and stole them from my competition. Then I sold those and once I had sold enough of these stolen cars, I had enough customers and money and attention that I could afford to go legit.

      It's even worse than companies like Worldcom that can completely screw people over and break every law on the books, fire one guy and just keep on doing business as usual. So the moral of the story is that it's wrong for you or me to "steal" and justify it with "fair use", but it's okay to do it if you're a corporation or are being eyed by hungry corporations.
      • Imagine if I own a parking garage. I'm an innocent small business owner with no knowledge of investigative police work. Yet I am being sued because some moron parked a stolen car in my garage (which according to good business practices has an open-door policy). Perhaps you want to arrest the well mannered Ethiopian man who parks your cars as well? No worries, he's a friend of mine, and I shall bail him out faster than you can say "Viacom Is A Senseless Money Grabbing You Know What"...
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Seumas ( 6865 )
          Don't be so naive and ridiculous. Youtube and Napster became huge because of the illegitimate content that was traded over them. Turning a blind eye and claiming "oh noes, we can't do anything about what's going on with our own services!" until they became huge and sold out for millions and billions to legitimate companies is exactly what they both did.

          If it were not for the illegitimate content, they would never have acquired the enormous number of eyeballs and accounts on their services which is what, in
          • by QRDeNameland ( 873957 ) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @07:27PM (#18369375)

            Youtube and Napster became huge because of the illegitimate content that was traded over them.

            While I will grant you the point about Napster, I don't think it necessarily applies to YouTube. YouTube is at best good for short clips, whether copyrighted or not, not so much for anything full-length. Everything I've ever watched on YouTube is either video that the creator explicitly wanted to be there (promotional stuff for bands, etc.) or short clips from TV shows, that while technically infringing, is not any huge threat to the market for the real show and probably even works as promotion, at least IMHO. People who want to "steal TV" are getting it from BitTorrent, not YouTube.

            YouTube became a phenomenon because it was the first popular way for people to share short video clips, not as vector to share copyrighted content. Yes, some copyrighted content does get shared, but I really don't see that as the *primary* reason for YouTube's rise, as opposed to Napster where I can't really make that argument.

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by elrous0 ( 869638 ) *

              short clips from TV shows, that while technically infringing, is not any huge threat to the market for the real show and probably even works as promotion

              I would like to second that myself. While I don't condone YouTube "stealing" copyrighted content, I can personally attest that it has piqued my interest in several shows that I might otherwise have missed (that I then ended up watching on regular TV).

              Just the other day I was watching some old "Six Million Dollar Man" and "Bionic Woman" clips and it mad

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by mysidia ( 191772 )

            Unlike Napster, Youtube has copyright compliance policy. Youtube removes infringing content when requested by the copyright holder, and users' accounts can be suspended, which is a meaningful way of removing content if it is found that it was illegally posted.

            Therefore, Youtube may enjoy some of the DMCA safe harbor protections, where Napster clearly did not satisfy the requirements to enjoy those protections.

            Remember... it's not Youtube that posts offending content, it is some users of youtube.

      • by webheaded ( 997188 ) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @08:40PM (#18370053) Homepage
        I'm sorry, but that's a crock of shit, honestly. YouTube and Google aren't stealing anything. When they are asked to take stuff down, they do. Beyond that, they have no obligations to police the shit out of the site. If the copyright holders want to bitch about it, then they can do so in the form of a takedown notice or shut the hell up. I can't even understand why anyone thinks that Viacom is in the right. Again, YouTube is powered by users, not Google. Pull your head out of your ass.
    • Well Exactly! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by NickFortune ( 613926 ) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @06:08PM (#18368583) Homepage Journal

      I agree. It's not a simple either/or question. Does Viacom have a right to protect its copyrights? Yes! Is one billion dollars in damages sensible, sane, or in any way indicative of the damage to Viacom's earnings? Absolutely not. I mean they could protect their copyrights with a simple injunction and a token payment to cover legal fees. But no, they've got to go all SCO and look for a billion dollar settlement.

      And for that sort of money, you have to suspect that they're after more than just getting their stuff removed. I don't know whether it's just greed, dislike of Google or that they want to destroy YouTube. But I have to say that I don't really care.

      As far as I'm concerned, Viacom's IP isn't worth one billion dollars of anyone's money and for them to win would be a serious miscarriage of justice. IMHO, YMMV and IANAL; but if TFA wants to know who's side I'm on, then that's who, and that's why.

      Now if Viacom want to drop the amount they're suing for to something that makes sense in this parallel universe, then I might change my mind. Otherwise, Go Google!

      • Re:Well Exactly! (Score:4, Insightful)

        by InfoVore ( 98438 ) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @08:19PM (#18369879) Homepage
        Absolutely not. I mean they could protect their copyrights with a simple injunction and a token payment to cover legal fees. But no, they've got to go all SCO and look for a billion dollar settlement.

        And for that sort of money, you have to suspect that they're after more than just getting their stuff removed.

        And like SCO, their real goal isn't to remove their copyrighted works from the hands of others. Their real goal is to force Google into a settlement that leeches off a steady stream of cash from Google. I'm sure that along the way they will hint to Google that they would consider dropping the lawsuit if Google licensed their copyrighted content for use on YouTube. They will put on some bizarre restrictions that will make the cable companies happy. The Billion Dollars is just the opening high bid.

        If Google is smart (like IBM in the SCO case), they won't bite and they will let their lawyers drag it out until the bitter end.

  • by stratjakt ( 596332 ) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @05:31PM (#18368087) Journal
    Just because we like google doesn't mean they aren't wrong.

    If I were to run a public ftp, and let people upload all sorts of copyrighted crap, I'm liable - wether I knew they uploaded it or not. Theres plenty of precedence there, people have been burned for "pubs" on their hardware, that they had no knowledge of.

    Why should google be above the law, just because they're a /. fave?

    Youtube doesn't have the right to host whole tv shows, movies, etc.

    Then YouTube turns around to sue a website for copyright infrigement, for allowing you to download the YouTube content - that they don't even own.

    I hate youtube. I hate google even more for their involvement of it. It's napster jr, plain and simple, and it'll be shut down.

    • by nuzak ( 959558 ) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @05:36PM (#18368171) Journal
      It's very simple: we like the content, we want everything for free, therefore copyright is evil. The justifications come after the fact.

      I hate the RIAA and MPAA as much as anyone, and I think the DRM schemes are a pretty cynical attempt at lock-in and control, but this is pretty clear cut: it's Viacom's stuff that Viacom's advertisers pay Viacom to distribute, and Youtube is cutting them out completely. This is the blatant stuff that makes them push for things like broadcast flags and DRM from end to end.
      • by russ1337 ( 938915 ) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @05:40PM (#18368211)
        >>>"it's Viacom's stuff"

        If they don't want people to see it, don't broadcast it in the first place.

        If they want to control it properly, have could big rooms that seat maybe 100 people, and with large screens. Oh put them in public places where you can pay an 'admission' fee. You might want to serve food in the foyer as I tend to get hungry. Perhaps Popcorn.
        • by nuzak ( 959558 ) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @05:46PM (#18368293) Journal
          Took less than five minutes for justification #1. Any more takers?

      • by Nom du Keyboard ( 633989 ) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @06:25PM (#18368765)
        but this is pretty clear cut

        What's clear to me is that, if they could, Viacom and the rest of the industry would like to charge you every single time you ever watched a piece of their content. They haven't managed to yet devise a successful system to accomplish this (remember DIVX DVD's, or RCA SelectVision videodiscs that actually wore out on use), but they have never given up on this dream. And these kind of lawsuits are just more small steps along the path to the Utopia of having full control over every second of music, and every frame of film forever.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Kpau ( 621891 )
        Lets also be clear that Viacom is just as much a "content provider" as Google is. In other words, they create NOTHING. Viacom is just another middleman between the artists and the viewers. In fact, since their products never make any money (see Viacom and others - accounting practices), they usually avoid paying out much that was earned to the artists (see various **AA member tactics). I'm kind of the opinion that Google acquired Youtube to slam this to the mat and Viacom bit into it. I suppose one coul
      • They are perfectly free to lock up their content in a vault and never release it. This will of course hurt them even more financially, but hopefully they will die either way. That way we will have more pure pwnage and less everybody loves repub- uhh... raymond.

      • by jmccay ( 70985 )
        Right & wrong is unimportant in this case. Even if Viacom wins, it will still lose. This is another example of a company failing to fulfill the needs, & desires, of the consumer. Take AOL/Time Warner for example, you may consider them evil, but they have made a lot of content available to AOL users for free. This includes videos, previews of shows, on demand content, and some shows for free. For example, I currently have Babylon 5 on (Matters of Honor). AOL/TW understands this idea of consumer
      • by Mr2001 ( 90979 ) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @08:21PM (#18369907) Homepage Journal

        It's very simple: we like the content, we want everything for free, therefore copyright is evil. The justifications come after the fact.
        Maybe that's how you think, or more likely how your imagined version of a file sharer thinks, but don't pretend you can speak for everyone who's opposed to copyright.

        There are plenty of reasons to oppose restricting free speech in order to make information a scarce good that have nothing to do with "wanting everything for free", and in fact many of us would be happy to pay content producers directly for their work, if they'd just mind their own business instead of telling us how we can or can't use our own hardware and internet connections.
    • by omeomi ( 675045 ) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @05:39PM (#18368197) Homepage
      If I were to run a public ftp, and let people upload all sorts of copyrighted crap, I'm liable - wether I knew they uploaded it or not. Theres plenty of precedence there, people have been burned for "pubs" on their hardware, that they had no knowledge of.

      Actually, from what I understand (and IINAL), Section 512(c) of the DMCA includes a "safe harbor" provision that basically says that Google isn't liable unless they refuse to take down material that they have been told to remove by the copyright holder. For better or for worse, right now it's up to Viacom to check for their own content on YouTube, and alert Google when they find it.
      • by yali ( 209015 ) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @06:42PM (#18368937)

        Legally you're right. Youtube is within the protection of the DMCA and should win the lawsuit.

        However, they are exploiting that protection. When somebody uploads Viacom's copyrighted content to YT, YT makes money off of the content until the moment that Viacom discovers it and tells them to take it down. YT gets to keep the money, and Viacom's product is now less valuable because thousands or millions of people have already seen it.

        Seems like a potential legislative tweak to "safe harbor" would be to require service providers like Youtube to track ad hits/revenue gained from any particular content source. If Viacom can prove that the content was theirs, then Youtube should then have to turn over that money to the rightful copyright holder.

    • by Curtman ( 556920 ) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @05:41PM (#18368223)

      If I were to run a public ftp, and let people upload all sorts of copyrighted crap, I'm liable - wether I knew they uploaded it or not. Theres plenty of precedence there, people have been burned for "pubs" on their hardware, that they had no knowledge of.

      And how is it that usenet has survived all these years? Some time ago it stopped being a place for geeks to chat, and got jam packed full of kiddie porn, pirated video, and warez.

      My ISP has a usenet server, my University (funded by public tax dollars) has a usenet server, etc, etc. Not one lawsuit that I've ever heard of.
      • by stratjakt ( 596332 ) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @06:04PM (#18368543) Journal
        I have no idea how usenet slipped under the radar so long. IRC + private ftps have been left alone too. Maybe it's just so geeky and obscure, and just doesn't do the volume to alarm the big guys - where napster and youtube do? I do know that in some cases posters have been tracked down and sued (stupid ones who let themselves be ID'd).

        I also know there's a couple dudes that hang out in front of the 7-11 a block away, and I know they sell crack, I've seen them do it with my own eyes. I also know the cops must know, but they haven't done anything about it. Maybe they got bigger fish to fry? Maybe they've just given up on 'da hood'. Maybe their building a case against a higher-up and dont want to rock the boat?

        Whatever the case, it doesnt mean it's okay to sell crack.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Atario ( 673917 )

          Whatever the case, it doesnt mean it's okay to sell crack.
          Doesn't mean it's not ok, either. I tend to say it is ok. However, it is almost certainly, at the moment at least, illegal.
      • "And how is it that usenet has survived all these years?"

        Probably due to the vagaries of propagation and the buffer space that have plagued USENET ever since more than three NNTP servers were active on the Internet. Because of limitations in how much one can conceivably post at one time, most of your warez and other binaries are chunked-out into sequential (usually)MIME-encapsulated packages that have to be re-assembled in order... else the whole thing falls flat.

        The vagaries come in when you realize th

    • Information wants to be free. It also doesn't want people without the copyrights to make money off of it.
  • Considering our likely imminent destruction, [] I'm going to refrain from voting until we rebuild civilization.
  • Just like Napster... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by John3 ( 85454 ) <> on Thursday March 15, 2007 @05:32PM (#18368105) Homepage Journal
    YouTube is hosting the material, so ultimately Viacom will win.

    Sure, YouTube is a cool idea and users love it, just like Napster was a hit with users. It's the darn content creators who are up in arms.
    • Except that that's exactly UNlike Napster, which was p2p.
      • by John3 ( 85454 )
        Correct...I forgot that Napster was p2p without actually hosting the files. However, both Napster and YouTube ran/run servers that make it easy for users to share copyrighted materials (as opposed to decentralized methods like Bit Torrent).

        An my "Just like Napster..." quote was really to express my feeling about the ultimate result, which is the demise of YouTube (with a relaunch in a sanitized Napster). :)
    • Wrong (Score:3, Interesting)

      by RingDev ( 879105 )
      Napster got nailed not because they allowed users to share pirated bits. They got nailed because they ADVERTISED that fact. P2P sharing is not illegal. Setting up a service that advertises and knowingly facilitates pirating IS. YouTube is not advertised as a place to go for pirated videos, it is advertised as a place for individuals to post videos, and they are actively working to prevent permitted copy written material from appearing.

      If that distinction does not hold up in court (or if a deal is not worked
      • pleh, type-o (Score:3, Informative)

        by RingDev ( 879105 )
        "...working to prevent permitted copy written material from appearing"

        should read

        "...working to prevent unpermitted copy written material from appearing"

        Makes a little more sense that way.

  • Hmm. Hom. Hoom. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Stanistani ( 808333 ) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @05:32PM (#18368109) Homepage Journal
    >Whose side are you on?

    Treebeard: "I am on no one's side, because nobody is on my side."
  • Side? What side? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DogDude ( 805747 ) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @05:33PM (#18368119)
    One multinational corporation vs. another multinational corporation. Why should I care? Let 'em slug it out. It's not like video on the Net is going to go anywhere, anyway. Spam is illegal, and he have tons of that. Kiddie porn is illegal, and we have tons of that online. Phishing and all kinds of other scams are illegal, and we have plenty of that. Does anybody think that corporate lawsuit #50,401,432 over online video is going to make any kind of real difference to anybody but the attorneys getting paid?
  • IANAL, but I seem to remember a clause in the DMCA that allowed "no-foul" agreements if takedown was immediate if a site was notified that it was hosting copyrighted material, with links to the site given. Is this not the case?
    • Re:Youtube... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by nuzak ( 959558 ) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @05:40PM (#18368217) Journal
      That's pretty much what the DMCA is all about, yes. However, Viacom is alleging bad faith on Youtube's part in that a) they do respond in a timely fashion, b) their material is predominantly infringing, and that c) they are profiting off the infringement. There's some precedents to back all these up, but I don't exactly have legal research resources beyond the intarwebs to cite them for you.

      Some of these points are debateable, but the preponderance seems to weigh pretty heavily against Youtube.
      • by nuzak ( 959558 )
        > a) they do respond in a timely fashion

        Should be "they do not respond in a timely fashion" of course. Sigh.
    • Is this not the case?

      No, you are correct. Which is why I think YouTube will ultimately win the case. The judge will find that YouTube is a common carrier, and makes every reasonable effort to handle takedowns as they receive them. Viacom will walk away in a fit of rage, and possibly implode on their way out.
  • by zappepcs ( 820751 ) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @05:34PM (#18368133) Journal
    taken the first step needed to be at the forefront of video based entertainment for the next decade or more. Viacom seems to be having second thoughts about upgrading their business model.

    YouTube/GooTube will be shown to be innocent of any major issues. Viacom will have to get in the game and change their business model, or watch this particular game at home on tv!

    We all understand clearly how the **AA has alienated their customers in no small way. Viacom is trying to do the same thing. While it is not clear what failed in the negotiation stage, it is clear to me that they will lose. It is not Google that puts offending material on the Internet. Remember that Google is hardly the only video sharing site on the Internet.

    Viacom's real problem is not Google. Their real problem is that the public at large do not respect copyright as Viacom and others would like to define it. (lets not bring in the real definition at this point) That is to say: The public in general would like to redefine 'fair use' for copyrighted materials, and do so in a way that removes some of the business revenue from Viacom and others.

    IMO, Viacom and others will simply have to get used to it, or be part of it if they want to stay in business.
  • Depends on who we're suppose to hate today...
  • Go with YouTube (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AKAImBatman ( 238306 ) * <{akaimbatman} {at} {}> on Thursday March 15, 2007 @05:35PM (#18368145) Homepage Journal
    10 years ago, the music industry became aware of a little thing called "MP3s". They offered the potential of distributing music through online channels. But rather than embrace it as a new business outlet, fraught with exciting new opportunities and possibilities, the music industry tried to squash it. Before they knew it, Napster was created. So they quashed that. Then GNUTella was created and they could quash that. Then Kazza, and BitTorrent, and Limewire, and so on and so forth.

    In the end, the music industry could not put the genie back in the bottle. It was only the introduction of iTunes that saved them from imploding.

    I see a lot of parallels here. While YouTube videos may seem like a bad idea for the old distribution models, they are increasing the amount of exposure that many shows are getting. Comedy Central's hosts have been getting more famous by the day, thanks to YouTube, and CBS has managed to promote personalities like Craig Ferguson by releasing videos themselves. I can respect Loudback's position on this, but there's simply no room for stalling the market. The forces in action WILL demand a way, whether YouTube is the vehicle or not. It's better to embrace them than it is to fight them.

    If you'll excuse the overused term, it's time to innovate!
    • by stubear ( 130454 )
      You're missing, or purposefully ignoring, the fact that a lot of broadcast content is being made available for free on sites like or Comedy Central. iTunes and XBOX Live Marketplace also offer broadcast content for a nominal fee. As I'v been saying for years and years, the culture of copyright reform isn;t about getting content easier, it's all about getting shit for free. I've also been saying for years that music should NOT be distributed via digital files because you are not going to get hi-qu
    • The choice is very simple. Why? Well, let's go look at the single justification of copyright in the first place:

      "To Promote the Progress of Science and the Useful Arts..."

      Well, who's "promoting progress" here? YouTube! Therefore, YouTube is right and Viacom is wrong. QED.

      Corporate profits or some fictional "entitlement" for copyright holders are irrelevant bullshit.

  • Null Concept (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Toonol ( 1057698 )
    "Actively Allowing?"

    I'm not sure that's even a valid concept.

  • If any of the infringing material that Viacom claims, are things that are not currently comercially avaialble, Viacom should lose control of 100% of their IP, all released into the public domain.

    Viacom were able to profit on our culture. They're not allowed to drop it down the corporate memory hole.
  • by lpangelrob ( 714473 ) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @05:35PM (#18368157)
    Considering Viacom is a 52 to 1 underdog [], I'm going to be prudent and pick Google.
  • Comedy Central is owned by Viacom. Didn't Comedy Central ask YouTube/Google to remove all of their content and they complied? Then they changed their mind and asked them to put it back up. How can Viacom now claim that Google's not complying? Doesn't the Comedy Central incident prove otherwise, or am I missing something?
  • After several years of constant hype about how Google employees are the smartestest people in the world (because they make, y'know, some nice, not-quite-finished Javascript apps) and how free lunch and other perks provided by the bestest managers in the world make those employees even smarterer...!

    It's reassuring to see how poorly they thought through this YouTube thing instead of getting their ducks in a row beforehand. the content providers, though, are exactly as shortsighted as one would have thought.

  • Neither side (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Todd Knarr ( 15451 ) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @05:38PM (#18368195) Homepage

    I'm not on the side of either Viacom or Google. I'm on the side of the law. The law, specifically the DMCA, spells out what responsibilities Google has, and what Viacom has. Viacom's argument here is that, while Google lives up to it's responsibilities, Viacom finds living up to theirs inconvenient and therefore Google should be saddled with Viacom's responsibilities too. Sorry, Viacom, but that's a matter for you to take up with Congress (who wrote the law).

  • I wonder if that billion dollars would have been enough to actually buy all of that content from the copyright holders and to assign it to the public domain?

    Oh, and the question "Whose side are you on?" can always be properly answered "I am on my side."
  • And now that we've got the question of "whose side am I on" out of the way...

    > On the other side, Jim Louderback, an editor-in-chief of PCMag says that Lance doesn't know what he's talking about: with all the content available online for free, Viacom can kiss those investments goodbye.

    On the gripping hand, all of Viacom's content is available online for free by means of high-resolution DiVX-encoded .AVIs by means of .torrents anyways, and Viacom's "investment" isn't worth the share certificates it's

  • by SQL Error ( 16383 ) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @05:41PM (#18368227)
    Never mind sides. I'll be over here selling popcorn.
  • "Viacom can kiss those investments goodbye."

    The summary seems to say that Viacom can kiss (potential?) online video investments goodbye. The PC Magazine article is talking about traditional investments from cable operators which might be lost if the content is available for free online.

    "actively allowing uploads"

    Well, gee, that sure sounds worse than PASSIVELY allowing something. That phrase is what made me actually go to the article, to see if a PC Magazine editor can possibly use wording like that. (I
  • I am on neither side (Score:2, Interesting)

    by baomike ( 143457 )
    Which ever one first decides to provide some interesting content gets my vote.
    In the battle of the inane vs the vacuous there are no winners.
  • by gravesb ( 967413 ) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @05:45PM (#18368281) Homepage
    It really depends on the judge. A good judge will look at the DMCA, the Grokster decision, then how much user created content is on YouTube, decide YouTube doesn't actively encourage infringement or rely upon it as a business plan, and will tell Viacom to police YouTube, as is the intent of the DMCA. A bad activist judge will correct this "injustice" and find against Google. Either way, Viacom loses out long term. This is a stupid law suit.
  • Viacom is suing because they want part of Google, they want a piece of the action.
  • the safe harbor provisions of the DCMA are pretty clear. 125 []

    on second thought "clear~ish"

    but at the end of the day youtube has been taking down infringing materials when advised of it presence on youtube.

    Viacom seems to want to basically destroy the safe harbor provisions of the DCMA.

  • When there are TV episodes available for free on YouTube (whether sanctioned or not), doesn't this make them more available for people to watch? And if more people watch them, and like them, then doesn't that mean more potential viewership during the actual broadcast, with commercials?

    Viacom should just say "thank you" to Google and move on.
  • by Jackie_Chan_Fan ( 730745 ) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @05:48PM (#18368349)
    What does CBS/Viacom want? Google doesnt have technology to magically scan pixel patterns and match them up to CBS tv shows when someone uploads a video.

    Google takes down material when asked.

    It is that simple.

    Anything else expected by CBS/Viacom is unreasonable and impossible to do.

    Google should just kick CBS and Viacom and all of its properties off of Googles search engine.

    BTW CBS was partnered with a search engine for a while. or something like that. I forgot what the hell it was called but you would win points the more you searched which would enter you in a monthly drawing for a million dollars.

    Perhaps CBS is just pissed off that their investment was a complete failure thanks to Google's dominating power.

    These companies dont get it. Its a new generation of media. Things are different, and laws much adapt as do the companies... to the new way we access and share media. The internet is a lonely place without video, music and text.

    Posting a video on Youtube is the way things are, and have evovled. It's not a crime, its a new use of technology. Its a way to say "HEY man.. check out my new audio tape... this song is great" and then you play it for your friend.

    Now we can say "hey world.. check this out... i liked it, maybe you will" or "I made this funny edit of wolf blitzer saying stupid things"...

    Its just a new world. Laws need to lighten up not tighten down. There's a great benefit to having your video being displayed somewhere. I would think CBS would be greatful for the free publicity, plus the fact that they dont have to invest money to host that on expensive servers with demanding bandwidth expenses.

    Its free publicity. Eat it up. Not clamp down

  • Youtube has carrier status, which means it isn't responsable for the content third parties put on it. According to USA law, it has to remove copyrighted material when it's notified about it by the copyrightholder. It's long been established by the courtsthat one can't sue carriers for what others do with it; you have to sue those who actually put it there (and carriers only need to act when notified about the infringement.

    What people might think off, in regard with succesfully sueing a carrier, was in the l
  • I told them they should be in the buisness of obtaining media rights to do on demand style television online. I told them online video is the next big thing. If Google loses this lawsuit, it will show I was right in two ways. :)

    I'm not on anyone's side though, it's an interesting case if you look at it. For example a Slashdot poster's comments has no affiliation with Slashdot. But what if a Slashdot poster started posting links to free DVDs you can burn on your home computer? Is Slashdot at fault for
  • Translation:

    If they're dumb: "total universal control"

    If they're smart: "a piece of YouTube's action"
  • One thing that many seem to be forgetting is that short excerpts are defined as fair-use. I believe that if Viacom actually does succeed with this lawsuit, it will set a very bad precedent. The majority of videos that have been taken down so far have been short clips, and thus fair-use compliant. I actually tried in vain recently to look up the clip of John Stewart's take on Senator "Series of Tubes" Stevens and Net Neutrality. It has been taken down (probably many times), and yet I am fairly certain that it would fall within the boundaries of fair-use.

    I support the removal of full content, such as movies. It does not make a difference if they are chopped up into ten minute segments or not, because it is quite simple to put the full movie back together again. Regarding full television shows, though, I am still unsure. I believe that the boundary is blurred at that point. However, short clips of shows or movies should not by any means be removed. It does not matter if it is in order to placate the parent corporation or not. I hope that Google makes this one of the cornerstones of their defense, and really drives it home that fair-use is actively being usurped.
    • One thing that many seem to be forgetting is that short excerpts are defined as fair-use.

      No, they're not.
    • by yali ( 209015 ) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @06:51PM (#18369021)

      One thing that many seem to be forgetting is that short excerpts are defined as fair-use.

      No they're not. [] The amount of a work that you use is only one of four factors that go into defining something as fair use. Other considerations include transformative value - for example, using a piece of someone else's work in order to comment on it or parody it. Most of the kind of clips you're talking about aren't transformative at all -- the meaning and significance of 2 minutes of Jon Stewart online is largely the same as those same 2 minutes within the context of a 30 minute show.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by zipwow ( 1695 )
        How much "commenting" is required? If I upload 2 minutes of Jon Stewart with "OMG, this RULZ", is that enough? What if I say, "This was one of the funniest, and saddest, clips of the last several months"?

        What I'm driving at here is that the article you link to (as all articles about fair use) reads more like how to prepare for a jury trial than it does about how to obey the law.


  • by Gonarat ( 177568 ) * on Thursday March 15, 2007 @06:07PM (#18368565)

    My knee-jerk reaction is to say that Google should win, put I think this case needs to be looked at closer -- this is a good example of the future meeting the past.

    On Google's side:

    They are complying with the DMCA takedown notices. The problem is, as soon as one takedown is done, another copy goes up under another title or user name. It is like playing whack-a-mole.

    Not all of the content is simply copies of content available on the air. I have seen some well done "Music Videos" (i.e. Clips from different movies/TV shows set to various songs) and some interesting stuff like the (fake) Titanic II film promo.

    YouTube video is low quality. I would rather watch a full TV show on a real TV set rather than YouTube.

    Google is in business to make money.

    On Viacom's side:

    The material does belong to them. Having to keep issuing takedown notices is a pain in the ass, and takes up a lot of time and money.

    From Jim Louderback, also of PC Mag - Jim's Column [] - Providers such Viacom have agreements with Cable and Satellite providers stating that only x% of their programming can be on line (x is typically 10% or less), so having all of this video online could open them up to breach of contract.

    They are in the business to make money.

    On My Side:

    It is good to have access to content without a lot of restrictions. Like it or not, content put out by Viacom, the RIAA, et. al. becomes part of our culture, and should not be totally locked up. The problem is, where should the line be drawn? I think Viacom should allow clips and derived content, but I can understand wanting to keep some sort of control over it.

    I want as much content as possible for as little money as possible (I already pay for Internet and Satellite, so I have access to most of the Viacom channels)


    So what is the best solution? There has to be some happy medium where everyone can get at least some of what they want. The RIAA has been fighting p2p for at least seven years now, and has nothing to show for it but declining revenues and increasing hatred by the public. Why would Viacom and/or Google want to end up in the same boat? If Viacom wins, they will look as greedy as the RIAA and the public will find other places to post content. If Google wins, Viacom et. al. will just lobby for changes in the DMCA, which already stinks enough as it is. So what to do --

    1. Settle this suit by Google offering Viacom a reasonable payment to cover posting of material. At the resolution that YouTube uses, neither Viacom or the Cable/Satellite industry should suffer. Most people would rather watch shows on a nice TV instead of a small YouTube window.

    2. Figure out a way to end the content wars once and for all. This includes the RIAA's ongoing war against p2p and along with the YouTube crap that is going on also. It is time to quit suing and put the Lawyers to work actually doing something constructive for once in their lives -- fixing copyright so that it works in the Internet era. This may involve a small monthly fee along with my DSL bill -- I wouldn't mind paying $5 to $10 per month to allow for legal p2p downloads, YouTube viewing, etc. Forget DRM -- it just penalizes your customers and doesn't stop "piracy" anyway.

    The market has changed, and resisting change isn't working. It is time to quit trying to turn back the clock, and time to move forward. The VCR didn't kill the Movie Industry (quite the opposite -- take that Jack V), quit bitching and get to work. Otherwise, Viacom, the RIAA, et. al. will end up committing slow suicide.

    Your call guys.

    Rant over.

    • On Google's side:

      They are complying with the DMCA takedown notices. The problem is, as soon as one takedown is done, another copy goes up under another title or user name. It is like playing whack-a-mole.

      I think you've just hit on the real heart of the matter. There has been a huge paradigm shift (yes I know that phrase has been subverted by marketing people, but it's the correct phrase for what's going on). Before there were just a few people and corporations who oversaw 99% of the content seen by th

  • Whose side? Screw Viacom. Once they're broadcast it over free television, they're not allowed to restrict or charge for it again. Clear enough?
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by TodMinuit ( 1026042 )
      Once they're broadcast it over free television, they're not allowed to restrict or charge for it again

      WOW! I didn't know we could come up with laws out of our ass!

      I deem it illegal to speak the word "flauga". So shall it be written, so shall it be done!
  • The courts will find that Viacom has been wronged, that Google has not done enough to protect the rights of copyright holders, and that Google owes Viacom reparations.

    "Reparations"? I suppose the copyright warriors think they are at war. I just wish they would defend their own best interests instead of big dumb companies that have nothing to do with them. "Rights of copyright holders," they must think they are freedom fighters too. The double talk is thick here.

    Viacom and other large publishers have

  • The silliest arguments I have been reading are things like "Viacom benefits from YouTube, therefore Google isn't doing anything wrong" and "the copyright holders can request to have the stuff removed, so what's the big deal?"

    It's not Google's right to index/distribute/host copyrighted content without consent. They want an opt-out model for copyright holders rather than opt-in, which is pretty shady.

    BTW, I don't buy for 1 second that a company with that much brainpower, cash, and tech prowess can't prevent c
    • Simple, moderate the damn thing. It'll also cut down on the rampantly stupid "kids try to kill themselves" stunt videos [*]. Thus cleaning up the scene.

      [*] They should package those up and sell them as a premium package or something.

  • If YouTube goes down, so does your favorite blogging service provider, be it LiveJournal, Blogger, or even MySpace. Down go the free web hosts like Google Page Creator and Geocities. Down goes the forums, even Slashdot. In all those cases random users can upload copyrighted works in at least text form. Copyrighted works are frequently reproduced without permission or under fair use on those sites.

    The key element here is section 512 of the DMCA [] which was written specifically to protect online service

  • DMCA++ (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Castar ( 67188 ) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @07:31PM (#18369403)
    One of the scariest things that might come out of this is an "upgrade" of the DMCA. I've been reading the stories about the lawsuit, and it's really bizarre to see a tech company defending the DMCA and a content company saying it's a bad law.

    Despite the fact that Viacom pushed for the adoption of the DMCA against the tech community's wishes, they're now claiming that it's *too nice* to copyright violators. Since it makes them issue takedown notices and limits the liability of hosting providers, they hate it in the YouTube scenario. They want a new law that doesn't even require takedown notices and instead forces hosting providers to actively police their content for violations - something that's obviously unworkable.

    I really hope they fail with this, but it's probably too much to ask. If they win, all content hosts will be in big trouble, and if they lose the entertainment industry will push for a law that will let them win. A scary situation...

"I will make no bargains with terrorist hardware." -- Peter da Silva