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Judge sides with YouTube in Viacom's $1 billion lawsuit [Updated]

Viacom's $1 billion lawsuit against YouTube for copyright infringement suffered a potentially fatal blow.

In a decision issued Wednesday, United States District Court Judge Louis L. Stanton granted YouTube owner Google's motion for summary judgment that it qualifies for "safe harbor" protection under the law. The provision of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act says that Internet companies are not liable for copyright infringement if they take certain preventive measures and promptly take down copyrighted materials when notified by their owners.

A Viacom spokesman called the decision "fundamentally flawed" in a statement and said the media conglomerate, which owns MTV Networks and Paramount Pictures, will appeal.

The surprise dismissal is a major blow to Viacom, which sued Google in 2007 and alleged that YouTube became the dominant company in online video by knowingly allowing copyrighted episodes of programs such as "The Daily Show" and "South Park."

Update, 5:25 p.m.: For much more, see the story in tomorrow's Times.

Updated, June 24: An earlier version of this post incorrectly said the lawsuit was dismissed. It has not. Instead, the federal judge granted Google's motion for summary judgment, which he did, ruling in favor of Google. Viacom can still appeal the case to the circuit court.

-- Ben Fritz

Comments () | Archives (9)

Boo Hoo to Viacom and Google. Only I suffer.

Welcome to the new millennium, fellas. It's time to rethink intellectual property and distribution. You may potentially lose a few million of your several billion dollar empire, but that's the cost of progress.

Hurray for common sense! :)

While I support an artists right to get paid for their work, since the producers have refused to compensate actors and writers properly for internet airings because they claim there is no money coming in from the web, I applaud this decision because now there is some truth in that claim. Poetic justice!!!!

I guess Viacom is off the hook for the $37 they owe Johnathan Coulton.

It happens.

At this moment (I just checked) there are 617,000 South Park clips on You Tube.
They could all be removed in a nanosecond at no cost. YouTube obviously is choosing to participate in copyright infringement. Their claim that they are entitled to safe harbor is nonsense.

Thank you!!! So many people and employees have tried to sue Viacom for discrimination and many other things and because they are a huge corporation, they have a team of attack dog lawyers that people can't fight against unless they were loaded with cash. It is so nice to see that their team didn't win this one.

It's so pointless to fight this stuff. The music industry has wised up and started using YouTube to promote music, and still make money with advertisements.


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