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YouTube Must Give All User Histories To Viacom 778

psyopper writes "Google will have to turn over every record of every video watched by YouTube users, including users' names and IP addresses, to Viacom, which is suing Google for allowing clips of its copyright videos to appear on YouTube, a judge ruled Wednesday. Although Google argued that turning over the data would invade its users' privacy, the judge's ruling (.pdf) described that argument as 'speculative' and ordered Google to turn over the logs on a set of four terabyte hard drives." Update: 07/03 18:05 GMT by T : Brian Aker, now of MySQL but long ago Slashdot's "database thug," writes a journal entry on how companies could intelligently treat such potentially sensitive user data.
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YouTube Must Give All User Histories To Viacom

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  • Tagged "fuckviacom" (Score:5, Interesting)

    by courseofhumanevents ( 1168415 ) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @08:40AM (#24041839)
    Another company to purposely avoid.
    • by joaommp ( 685612 ) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @08:42AM (#24041857) Homepage Journal

      Google is the cash cow for lawsuits now. I better jump on that wagon too.

    • by WingedHorse ( 1308431 ) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @08:46AM (#24041891)
      Some of us don't have a chance to do such decisions.

      I live in Finland so Viacom doesn't affect here. Still, Google is giving them all the records of my personal video watching too.

      Some might say "So what, nothing personal on youtube..." but for some of us there is. A lot of information about my friends, what kind of videos I watch, etc. are stuff that I don't want any third parties to know, really.

      I think I don't quite yet need to wait for my mother to ask

      Why did you get a "It seems you have been watching slash videos, would you be interested in these magazines..." mail?

      but it won't be far away if this kind of stuff gets more common.

      • by korean.ian ( 1264578 ) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @08:57AM (#24042027)
        Exactly. I live in South Korea, but I put up videos of my kid so my family back home can see her grow. Lots of my friends have put up home videos, these might or might not contain information that could be used against them in some sort of official position (be it a job interview or perhaps an interview for a visa to work legally in a different country).
        This kind of bullshit affects people living in basically any country with even semi-decent internet access (you know there's some kid in a yurt in Mongolia who's willing to wait all night to wtch that one video on youtube).

        So yeah, you ordinary person in America: go start a witch hunt, a riot, a protest, a civil war. Go do something to claim back your country from the people who have no soul.
        Of course, one wonders how many Viacom employees or their family members have watched Viacom "owned" material on youtube...
        • by street struttin' ( 1249972 ) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @10:46AM (#24044037)
          This is exactly why I don't put ANY pictures of myself or friends up on the web unless I have no other choice, and then I only leave them there long enough to get the job done. The PUBLIC internet is a terrible place to put anything personal. These social networking sites are just libraries of personal info about you that anyone can see. Even if the company running the site claims you'll have privacy, it only takes a buyout, bankruptcy, or legal action to change that policy. Stay FAR AWAY.
          • by value_added ( 719364 ) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @11:55AM (#24045415)

            These social networking sites are just libraries of personal info about you that anyone can see.

            Maybe that's the point?

            Some years back I was involved in a civil suit involving my two dogs. I got a call from the producers of the Judge Judy show asking me whether I was interested in having the case handled in front of television cameras, the carrot part of the offer being that if I lost, they would pay for any and all costs.

            At first I was, quite honestly, flattered. Hollywood producers calling me at home? Who wouldn't be, right? I thought about it for a few minutes and it seemed that that it could be a funny episode, given that my dogs were funny enough, and the nature of the case itself deserved a laugh track. Why not turn an annoying legal predicament into entertainment?

            But then I thought of all the willing and eager contestants I'd seen on the Jerry Springer show over the years. I decided that trading my dignity and privacy for 15 minutes of fame and a few dollars by appearing on television show was A Really Stupid Idea, and told the woman at the other end of the phone, "No."

            It would be a stretch to say that social networking sites fall into a similar category as the Jerry Springer show (not too many hillbillies on Facebook yet), but the desire to tell all, share all, and most importantly, be seen, is undeniably widespread in our modern culture. I guess the theory is that if enough people are doing it, it doesn't really matter. And if there are consequences (intended, or otherwise), then the notoriety and fame more than makes up for everything.

            • by darkwhite ( 139802 ) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @02:23PM (#24048205)

              It would be a stretch to say that social networking sites fall into a similar category as the Jerry Springer show (not too many hillbillies on Facebook yet), but the desire to tell all, share all, and most importantly, be seen, is undeniably widespread in our modern culture

              You seem to misunderstand the appeal of Facebook in particular. The majority of people using Facebook do so because it facilitates communication with their friends, and provides a framework for getting to know friends of their friends. It has nothing to do with exhibitionism.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 03, 2008 @09:09AM (#24042187)

        Quite frankly, if you consider that information private, you shouldn't be using YouTube, or most other Google services. Google is known for logging everything and keeping the logs for a long time, and they're not doing it to have logs when they're sued for them. And it's not just Google. YouTube, Blogger, Flickr, MySpace, Facebook and all the other services are essentially data generation facilities which use the primary function as bait. You could post your own flash videos on your own web site. Everything you need for that is freely available. But you don't, because you don't actually care about your privacy and a distributed web structure, so quit whining.

    • by sm62704 ( 957197 ) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @08:52AM (#24041975) Journal

      Another company to purposely avoid

      How? I don't buy stuff from Viacom, the TV stations do. As I don't watch much TV anyway my participation in a boycott isn't going to help any.

      That organized RIAA boycott sure helped. The four foreign-owned record labels ignore it, and all losses it causes are attributed to piracy.

      At first I thought "somebody needs to start blowing shit up" but then I realized that no matter what we do, it will be useless at best and probably counterproductive.

      Now, I haven't RTFA (yet) but the summary sounds like they're going after people who watch YouTube videos. How in the hell am I supposed to know the copyright owner doesn't want it seen? Not wanting your video seen is as stupid as not wanting your music heard.

      Is Hollywood that scared of Ster Wreck?

      • by sm62704 ( 957197 ) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @09:01AM (#24042079) Journal

        OK, I'm back. There's no way to say it nice, so I'll not mince words - the summary is inflamatory garbage. TFA says

        Viacom wants the data to prove that infringing material is more popular than user-created videos, which could be used to increase Google's liability if it is found guilty of contributory infringement.

        It doesn't say why Viacom needs user names; maybe I haven't had enough coffee yet, but TFA is pretty light on details too, and since IANAL reading the ruling [wired.com] won't do me much more good than a lawyer reading uncommented source code.

        TFA says the EFF is getting involved [eff.org].

        • by LilBlackDemon ( 604917 ) <lilblackdemon@gm ... ail.com minus pi> on Thursday July 03, 2008 @09:11AM (#24042225) Homepage
          Thank you for pointing this out. Google does face additional liability if most videos are copyrighted material, and Viacom would likely be vindicated. That said, there's no reason to request usernames, IP addresses, etc., unless they were to go after the individual viewers. If they requested the IP/username for those who uploaded the protected works, however, that would make some sense.
          • by Impy the Impiuos Imp ( 442658 ) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @09:26AM (#24042463) Journal

            Google could run a simple select * or equivalent, changing each name to a guid of some kind. This would allow analysis of all users, per user, if necessary (which is doubtful anyway), without revealing any identifying info.

            Worse, this also reveals a trade secret -- Google can (and probably is) datamining to find what users actually choose to watch, which I'm sure Viacom wants to get their hands on.

            Think about what that data would be worth for creating new programs. This has stupidity and scam written all over it.

          • by schon ( 31600 ) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @10:44AM (#24043989)

            Google does face additional liability if most videos are copyrighted material, and Viacom would likely be vindicated.

            99.999% of everything on youtube is copyrighted.

            I upload home videos of my daughter so that family overseas can keep up - they're copyrighted *by me*.

            Congratulations, you've bought into the ??AA propaganda that copyrighted == illegal.

        • by L4t3r4lu5 ( 1216702 ) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @09:28AM (#24042503)
          IANAL, but from reading the ruling, the important part i've come to so far is Section 4. Pages 11 - 14;

          "Defendantsâ(TM) âoeLoggingâ database contains, for each instance a video is watched, the unique âoelogin IDâ of the user who watched it, the time when the user started to watch the video, the internet protocol address other devices connected to the internet use to identify the userâ(TM)s computer (âoeIP addressâ), and the identifier for the video... (T)he motion to compel production of all data from the Logging database concerning each time a YouTube video has been viewed on the YouTube website or through embedding on a third-party website is granted."

          They don't get the whole video database (Section 5), they DO get Google Video database schema to check for methods employed to detect infringing videos, and they get non-content related info about other videos for purposes of comparisson with detection rates of infringing videos.

          Again, IANAL. It's just what I read.
        • by penguinbrat ( 711309 ) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @09:45AM (#24042849)

          I read through that PDF and the impression I got was that Viacom is on a major full blown witch hunt for EVERYONE that has watched an 'illegal' video, and even wants to go after advertisers advertising while the said video is playing - and calls each one of them (us?) defendants, I can only assume that if your calling someone a defendant (that isn't one) that your planning to be the plantif against them someday...

          They even go as far as saying that if the user comments say it's infringing and you watch it, you "KNEW" it was illegal and likewise they deserve the right to the information about you.

    • by Kirth ( 183 ) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @08:54AM (#24042001) Homepage

      You'd better tagged it "fuckjudgelouislstanton". Because that bloody asshole violates every viewers privacy worldwide. Of course viacom wants this data, companies are not "nice", and if they think they can get away with it, they will do it. But this judge is a fucking catastrophe for allowing them to rape the viewers privacy.

      And of course, it's entirely illegal to demand google to turn over the records of non-US viewers to viacom, due to much harder privacy-laws everywhere else.

    • by SQLGuru ( 980662 ) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @09:24AM (#24042425) Journal

      I wonder if New York Country Lawyer would file something on my behalf to exclude my data from inclusion. I don't believe that I've watched anything that is Viacom owned (mostly parody and how-to videos), so I wouldn't really care if they found out who I was through that filing (but as a John Doe would be even better). If the scope was limited to only stuff owned by them, that's one thing, but for any YouTube video, screw them.


      • by RareButSeriousSideEf ( 968810 ) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @10:31AM (#24043745) Homepage Journal

        That is a very, very good point. Before turning over the data, Google should open up a mechanism for every individual user who so chooses to file an appeal to the dissemination of their personal data.

        Whatever Viacom needs to do, they can do sitting at a secure workstation under Google's control, with a network security officer standing over their shoulder at all times, and with logs of every query they run. Whatever data is relevant to their lawsuit they can print out in aggregate form.

    • by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @09:25AM (#24042433) Journal

      This is just as much reason to avoid Google, or any company that keeps any kind of logs of your behavior.

    • by Dan541 ( 1032000 ) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @10:15AM (#24043427) Homepage

      Who the Fuck are Viacom?

      and why should people give them anything?

      This is what you get for running a sever in the United States.

  • hmm. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by apodyopsis ( 1048476 ) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @08:41AM (#24041849)
    hmmm, thats a nasty precedent.
  • by jez9999 ( 618189 ) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @08:44AM (#24041871) Homepage Journal

    Presumably, legal discovery is usually limited to the domain in which the lawsuit is operating. In a case like this, is it really appropriate for Google to provide such vast quantities of information, 99.9% of which is almost certainly irrelevant to the case? Shouldn't there be an appeals process Google can use that basically says "that judge doesn't know what (s)he's talking about, Viacom don't need this information"?

    • by Reality Master 201 ( 578873 ) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @08:52AM (#24041973) Journal

      They're arguing that YouTube gets more viewership from copyrighted materials than non-copyrighted stuff, and they want the viewer logs to prove that. Then they'll go after Google and others for more money because they're profiting more from it.

      I'm not saying that I agree with decision (I don't), but it's not like it's entirely unmotiviated.

      On the other hand, I think people really need to start showing up outside the homes of the various lawyers, judges, and corporate executives involved and protest this kind of bullshit. They need to be followed into public places and shouted at about their behavior.

      • by jonfr ( 888673 ) * on Thursday July 03, 2008 @09:02AM (#24042087) Homepage

        My youtube stuff is copyrighted. Maybe I should sue Viacom for breaking it.

      • by mysidia ( 191772 ) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @09:05AM (#24042133)

        In other news... Slashdot ordered to hand over the IP addresses and usernames and list of comments posted by every individual to read the "YouTube Must Give All User Histories To Viacom" thread on slashdot, including the identities of all "anonymous coward" viewers and posters, and their ip addresses.

        CmdrTaco protested that the action would violate reader privacy, but the court dismissed it as mere speculation.

        It seems Xyz Co. insisted that most of Slashdots' profits came from participants sparking illegal protests.

      • by SpcCowboy ( 1303133 ) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @09:07AM (#24042145)
        The issue is not so much that they want the viewing logs to prove their argument. Anyone sufficiently motivated could study that since YouTube posts the number of views for each video on the site. The bigger issue is acquiring the names and IP addresses for everyone along with the view numbers. I fail to see how having that information is relevant to their case.
        • by VdG ( 633317 ) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @09:37AM (#24042697)

          I can see why the information could be relevant.

          They want to be able to see not only whether infringing videos make up a significant proportion of views, but also whether viewing such videos is restricted to a small sub-set of YouTube viewers, or is more general behaviour.

          If everybody is at it, then they can claim that YouTube can't function without copyright infringement. If it's mostly a small set of people doing all the uploads and viewing it'd be harder to make such a claim.

      • by EMCEngineer ( 1155139 ) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @09:09AM (#24042195)

        Yeah, but shouting at them doesn't work that well. I mean, who is going to stand around the whole time while I shout, "This guy's corporation is violating your personal privacy, subverting the courts into a money making operation instead of a justice system, twisting laws to suit his own needs, bribing members of congress with contributions to their campaigns or charities, harming innovation with restrictive IP laws, violating anti-trust laws via industry groups, and he's also badly dressed."

        Really, the problem with protesting any of this is threefold:
        1 - the problem is poorly understood by the general public
        2 - protestors are starting to be ignored as whackos
        3 - even if you can get the point across and have people understand why this is a problem, they will be apathetic

      • by afidel ( 530433 ) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @09:10AM (#24042205)
        So, WhyTF do they need usernames and IP's? The popularity of a clip has NOTHING to do with WHO viewed it, simply how MANY people viewed it. Asking for usernames simply means they are either out to sue individuals or they want the information for profiling purposes which has nada to do with the lawsuit and so should not be allowed in discovery.
      • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Thursday July 03, 2008 @09:25AM (#24042453)
        And do you honestly think this is ALL they will use this information for? The marketing data value alone of those drives has to be worth well in the millions of dollars (if not billions). And that doesn't count the lawsuit value (they now have IP information on every person who has ever watched a copyrighted video on Youtube, after all)--which could put the data's value *well* into the billions.
        In other words, an ignorant judge just handed them a cache of data worth way more than anything they could have gotten from an actual win (and has compromised the personal data of millions of completely innocent people to Viacom's market research department in the process)
    • by Yvanhoe ( 564877 ) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @08:54AM (#24041993) Journal
      Just provide it as is the custom in trial : on paper

      Then blame Viacom on the sudden disappearance of the Amazonian forest.
      • by KillerBob ( 217953 ) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @09:24AM (#24042423)

        Funny... but also insightful. As much of an environmentalist as I am (and I am), I'd say give it to them on paper. Maybe compromise, on 100% post-consumer fibre paper.... They want reams and reams of information that they don't really have a right to, and a judge is going along with it, so give it to them. In a format that will take them a decade to sift through, by which time it won't be relevant any more.

      • by The Second Horseman ( 121958 ) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @09:34AM (#24042641)

        The rules changed about a year and a half ago, if I remember correctly - new Federal rules for civil procedures were put in place for discovery of electronic records. You can't bury them in paper - you're supposed to give them electronic copies of electronic records (unless they ask otherwise), and you need to give them the data in a format that they can read. Document metadata (Word edit histories, for example) can't be stripped out, etc.

    • by ArtemaOne ( 1300025 ) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @10:05AM (#24043235)
      I do NOT want Viacom knowing how many times I've been Rick-rolled.
  • by tgd ( 2822 ) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @08:44AM (#24041877)

    That must've been a hacker who got onto my computer who was searching for "bunny", "kitties", "puppies" and "babies".

    I only search for "fire", "car crashes", "backyard wrestling" and "boobs".



  • Anti-competitive ? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bytesex ( 112972 ) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @08:46AM (#24041893) Homepage

    Isn't there some law that, unless you are a convicted monopolist, you can't be expected to help the competition ? I'm sure Viacom will do nothing with this data to help its own advertising business, no sirree.

  • by kidgenius ( 704962 ) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @08:47AM (#24041903)
    Why would a company keep all of that information, especially when they know there is a high degree of certainty that they will be involved in some legal troubles later. Keeping this information is just asking for trouble. There probably are a few ways they use it, but it could easily be done without needing to keep a history. View counts, for instance, could just be incremented, and immediately the information about who viewed it could be thrown out. What about all of the related videos? Just create those links and throw out the information about the individuals that clicked between videos? It just doesn't make sense that when you will be offering a service that could come back to bit you in the rear, why would you keep information that could potentially show that you are doing something in a gray-area?
    • by Bandman ( 86149 ) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `namdnab'> on Thursday July 03, 2008 @08:49AM (#24041929) Homepage

      Ah, but they they couldn't suggest videos to you. After all, how would you find more midget porn and pirated My Little Ponies episodes if they didn't suggest content for you?

      • by kidgenius ( 704962 ) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @08:59AM (#24042051)
        Well...as disturbing as that is (midget porn), you've got a good point about recommendations. I know this is "evil", but why not keep a cookie on the user's computer that contains all that information. The site could call it up when you login. If a person doesn't store it, or deletes their cookies, that data is lost. Oh well, but it would release google having to give out information that could be used against it.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by thogard ( 43403 )

      Why would they keep it reliably? The google model was based on "stuff breaks, it doesn't hurt our results much and we start over every month"
      There was wisdom to that (when it happened)

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Isao ( 153092 )
      Why would a company keep all of that information...

      To the best of our understanding, Google keeps EVERYTHING. Think about that for a minute while I go off and Google something...

    • by Lurchicus ( 1280666 ) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @09:17AM (#24042291)
      Both for Google and whomever gets their hands on this information... this data is potentially valuable from a marketing standpoint. Even if what is being watched can't be broken down into demographics, it's a huge data base of what Internet uses want to watch. I suspect the value of this data from a marketing research point of view is worth more than any loss of revenue caused by people watching copyrighted materials.
  • Anonymize (Score:5, Insightful)

    by |DeN|niS ( 58325 ) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @08:47AM (#24041911)

    Viacom wants the data to prove that infringing material is more popular than user-created videos, which could be used to increase Google's liability if it is found guilty of contributory infringement.

    So anonymize the data. Ask your friendly local CS student for instructions. You can get all your statistics from that.

    Oh, that isn't actually the reason you want the data? Yeah, thought so. DIAF

  • by Erie Ed ( 1254426 ) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @08:48AM (#24041917)
    Now that they gave out my private information to another company without my consent i can now sue google and become rich...I pitty the suckers that bought stock in google.
  • by stokessd ( 89903 ) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @08:49AM (#24041925) Homepage

    People will find out about my Eddie Izzard fetish..."The death star must have had a cantina..."


  • Protective Order (Score:5, Insightful)

    by John Hasler ( 414242 ) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @08:49AM (#24041931) Homepage

    The users need to intervene as a class and request a protective order. They probably can't get the subpoena quashed but they probably can get the judge to limit what Viacom can do with the data and who can see it. They should ask him to limit access to the data to outside experts sworn to secrecy.

  • Why.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 03, 2008 @08:51AM (#24041965)

    Why would Google even keep this info. We seriously need to learn to stop tracking this kind of stuff. It's like the Patriot act and libraries. When the act passed and libraries found out that checkout records of their users could be used in court most libraries simply stopped keeping a record of them. Companies like Google need to start doing the same.

  • by trolltalk.com ( 1108067 ) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @08:52AM (#24041969) Homepage Journal

    The order also requires Google to turn over copies of all videos that it has taken down for any reason.

    So, if google has taken down a video from some non-viacom entity, for any reason, viacom gets a copy, in violation of the original owners' copyrights?

    Also, I wonder if google had to take down any kiddie porn vids ... seems we could get viacom for possessing child porn.

  • by liquiddark ( 719647 ) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @08:54AM (#24041995)
    Who needs to win cases when you can receive millions of dollars in data simply by going through discovery proceedings?
  • All of us (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rinisari ( 521266 ) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @08:56AM (#24042009) Homepage Journal

    Every single user of the Internet should be OUTRAGED about this judge's neglect of basic privacy statutes. I dispatched an email to YouTube about this order, urging them to fight it with all their power.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 03, 2008 @08:58AM (#24042029)

    Why is Google keeping such detailed logs? If Google had anonymised their IP address logs to begin with, they could have avoided this.

    They should have taken the white house's lead and preemptively destroyed any computer records they didn't want coming out in court.

  • by terminal.dk ( 102718 ) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @08:58AM (#24042031) Homepage

    This is breaking european law. It is personal data (a log file with IP addresses is). So I really hope that Google do not have that sort of data in the US.

    I will be reporting this to the danish data privacy agency. I suggest every other euopean reader here also contacts their local data privacy agency, or some EU institutuion.

  • by SpinyNorman ( 33776 ) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @08:59AM (#24042055)

    Not much Google can do now if ordered by a court to turn it over, but I'm a bit (lot) creeped out by why they think they need to keep this type of detailed personalized history in the first place. Having the history means that a court/government/disgruntled employee/future employer/hacker may get access to it.

    If Google really need to target advertising to what we're watching, searching for, etc, etc (big brother - yuck), then couldn't they at least do so in a more anonymous form - rather than storing "user Joe just watched Viacom's boobie-jiggle on YouTube on July 3rd", just do user[joe].interests[interest-class[boobie-jiggle]]++.

    I guess Google don't consider being big brother incarnate to be "evil", but I think most of their user base do!

  • by IronWilliamCash ( 1078065 ) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @09:02AM (#24042095)
    Here's the list of all the brands you now want to avoid because Viacom is being a bitch.

    media networks,bet networks,bet,bet j,mtv networks, atomfilms, addictinggames, cmt, comedy central, gametrailers, harmonix, logo, mtv, mtv2, mtvn international, mtvu, mtv tr3s, neopets, nickelodeon - nick jr., nick at nite, noggin, parentsconnect, quizilla, rhapsody, shockwave, spike tv, the n, tv land, vh1, vh1 classic, vh1 soul, virtual worlds, xfire, filmed entertainment, paramount pictures corp, paramount pictures, dreamworks studios, paramount vantage, mtv films, nickelodeon movies, home entertainment, global reach, brand index
  • by chicagotypewriter ( 933271 ) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @09:06AM (#24042139)
    I'll save you the trouble, my IP is
  • File back. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SloWave ( 52801 ) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @09:07AM (#24042149) Journal

    Anyone have some boilerplate forms and step by step instructions to file the necessary legal objections to this? I would sure do it and I'll bet enough other people would to keep the court busy just reading the stuff for quite a while.

  • by GreyyGuy ( 91753 ) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @09:09AM (#24042191)

    Why do companies keep collecting every bit of data they can like this? Why does Google need to know the user name of the person watching the videos? Even the IP address is questionable. If they want to track people artificially inflating their views, wouldn't it be simple to keep one day's worth of views by IP address? What value do they get from keeping all the viewing history?

    Meanwhile, Viacom gets user names, IP addresses, and the list of every video watched. If they are smart, they will realize this is way better then any survey or Nelson rating they ever get. And they got it nearly for free. You can be certain that other companies will be very interested in this data too. Can they just give Viacom a call and get it? Did the court put any restraints on Viacom sharing this data?

    I hope you haven't watched anything on YouTube you don't want to be contacted about. Now excuse me while I go log out of my account. I don't think I've watched anything I don't want shared, but at the same time I would rather not risk having someone else come through and make decisions about me based on my random viewing habits.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 03, 2008 @09:12AM (#24042235)


    When someone asks for discovery outside any reasonable boundry, attorneys refer to it as a "fishing expedition". Here, they just want to see the user patterns, so that they can do a stat analysis and figure out new ways to handicap a service they don't control.

    The overarching reason for all of this litigation is only secondarily about copyright. The primary reason is so that they can learn and when they ask the "series of tubes" know-little (but bought and paid for) congress for son of DMCA they know how to hamstring.

    While the Viacoms and Sonys of the world don't like the internet and can't kill it, they can try to hobble it at every turn. This, HDCP, etc are all part of one grand scheme to control the pipeline. "child porn" is the excuse to filter at the ISP......

    Think of 1978....they controlled your tv, and that's the way they liked it. That is the ideal.

  • For what purpose? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by j_166 ( 1178463 ) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @09:22AM (#24042379)

    What would be the purpose of this? If you watch a video on YouTube, even if its not there legally, you are doing nothing illegal. Or at least nothing provably illegal. The person uploading these copyrighted materials is doing something definitely illegal, but couldn't they do figure out who that is already by just crawling the site for their content and making a note of the username, and then pestering Google for the IP address?

    Something doesn't make sense here. My guess is they more or less know who is pirating their content, but what they are really interested in is who is pirating their partners'/competitors' content, and they are going to try to sell that info on to their competitors. Just a guess.

  • by mbone ( 558574 ) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @09:36AM (#24042687)

    Although Google argued that turning over the data would invade its users' privacy, the judge's ruling (.pdf) described that argument as "speculative"

    This must be some new use of the word "speculative" with which I am unfamiliar.

  • by seichert ( 8292 ) * on Thursday July 03, 2008 @10:13AM (#24043377) Homepage

    I have pretty regularly cleared my viewing history on YouTube. (Go to QuickList->Viewing History->Clear Viewing History on the YouTube interface).

    Did YouTube keep a copy of it anyway? Are they turning that over to Viacom?

    If so, I'd like to file a bug against the Clear Viewing History feature as it obviously did not clear the viewing history.

  • by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @10:44AM (#24043979) Homepage Journal

    The judge making this senile ruling is Louis Stanton [wikipedia.org], who was born in 1927, 81 years ago. He was appointed by Ronald Reagan, 23 years ago.

    Most Americans have to retire when they're 65. This guy is still sitting there, ruling on American activities that were invented only when he was already past retirement age.

    Let him rule on whips & buggies. He's obviously unfit to rule on Internet privacy, and has even forgotten the 4th Amendment.

"Call immediately. Time is running out. We both need to do something monstrous before we die." -- Message from Ralph Steadman to Hunter Thompson