June 2010

Decision in Viacom v. YouTube: Dog Bites Man (Mark Cuban was wrong)

June 25, 2010

Despite all the hoopla, this week’s copyright decision in Viacom v. YouTube (link on Scribd) was predicatable – a decision in the opposition direction would have been a shocker.  Viacom accused YouTube (owned by Google) of massive copyright infringement.  The court dismissed the case on summary judgment in favor of YouTube. Of course, there is no question that copyright infringement is taking place on YouTube every instant of the day.  The court noted that video is being uploaded to YouTube at the rate of 24 hours per minute.  My calculator tells me that this is over 12.6 million hours of video per year.  It’s no secret that people are uploading copyright material at a fantastic rate – a search of YouTube will find that almost any popular song can be located.  it’s a simple matter to download the clip (either video of just audio), and share it with friends or on peer-to-peer networks.   YouTube “ground zero” for online copyright infringement. However, as I’ve noted in the past, the Digital Millenium Copyright Act – the DMCA – is a federal law that protects publishers such as YouTube as long as they follow the DMCA’s “notice and take-down” procedures (aka “whack-a-mole”), which YouTube has faithfully done.  Thus, YouTube was able to claim that it followed “the letter of the law” and therefore its conduct fell within this statutory safe harbor. Southern District…

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