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A Law Professor's Opinion of Viacom vs YouTube 155

troll -1 writes "Lawrence Lessig, a well-known law professor at Stanford, has an op-ed in the NY Times entitled Make Way for Copyright Chaos which references the Viacom vs YouTube case. What's interesting about this article is that it gives some historical perspective on copyright law and the courts. Up until Grokster, Lessig says the attitude of the courts was, 'if you don't like how new technologies affect copyright, take your problem to Congress.' But in the Grokster case the court seemed to rule against the technology itself, cutting Congress out of the picture. He also explains that Viacom is essentially asking the Court to rule against the safe harbor provision of Title II of the DMCA which should protect YouTube and others against liability so long as they make reasonable steps to take down infringing content at the request of the copyright holder. Lessig doesn't give us any insight into who's going to win but he does conclude that 'conservatives on the Supreme Court have long warned' about the dynamic of going against Congress when it comes to copyright."
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A Law Professor's Opinion of Viacom vs YouTube

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  • by sumdumass ( 711423 ) on Sunday March 18, 2007 @02:47AM (#18392535) Journal
    No, Google and Youtube doesn't have the ability to screen copywriten works. And here is why.

    I give you and only you the permision to repost anything I have writen on slashdot and hold an automatic copywrite over. How is anyone supposed to know you have permision as aposed to someone else not having permision? Currenty, the person who can give permision has to say "hey, you don't have my permision" then goto the appropriate chanels to get the content removed if and when the user doesn't.

    Now suppose as part of the user agreement to Youtube, It says you post only what you have copywrite to or permision to use from the copyholder. How are they going to verify the copyright is theirs or that the user has permision to use it? They need to contact the copyright holder. But the copyright holder isn't always clear when the posting consists of a few clips of some obscure show or scenes from some show that doesn't readily make it obvious what the show is. Are they now supposed to have a team of people that reviews every show, movie, song, book, whatever else that can be copywriten in order to scan ever file uploaded in order to see if it is someone elses and how to contact them to verify someone has permision?

    It is the copy owners job to determine if their work is being used against their rights acording to the right given by the copyright. It is there job to give notice and request it stop. Google having some op in service is a way for the copy owner to let google/youtube know who does and who doesn't have permision to use a certain piece of copywriten work outside of someone saying they have the right to do so.
  • by Siguy ( 634325 ) on Sunday March 18, 2007 @06:49AM (#18393217)
    Your argument would make sense if youtube just had obscure and unknown copyrighted clips showing up. If it were just random BBC shows no one has heard of. But when episodes of South Park, the Simpsons, Family Guy, etc etc show up, no, you do not need a set of lawyers to figure out what's going. And I'm not even talking about video mashups and parodies and other gray areas. The fact is that Youtube makes no effort to block completely obvious copyright infringement when they already clearly have the capability to do so based on the porn precedent. Now if they stopped allowing full episodes of shows and movies to linger for weeks and the only things showing up were 2 minute clips or parodies or obscure shows, then I'd agree with you. But it's not like youtube users hide what they're doing. Most of the time they just link three ten minute clips together and label them "South Park 403 Part 1" "...Part 2" and so on.

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