John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Your Search– 'Viacom'–Did Not Match Any Documents. Did You Mean 'Google Video'?

suetube.jpgWhen Google acquired YouTube, conventional wisdom had it that the company had purchased a start-up whose business model was built almost from the ground up on liabilities. As entrepreneur Mark Cuban once said, “Only a moron would buy YouTube.”

Of course, as often as not, conventional wisdom is wrong–particularly when it comes to Google and its business dealings. And we may soon find out if that’s the case this time. On Monday afternoon, Google responded to Viacom’s $1 billion copyright infringement suit over video clips on YouTube (PDF), denying the company’s claims and asking for a judgment dismissing the complaint. “By seeking to make carriers and hosting providers liable for Internet communications, Viacom’s complaint threatens the way hundreds of millions of people legitimately exchange information, news, entertainment and political and artistic expression,” Google said. “Google and YouTube respect the importance of intellectual property rights, and not only comply with their safe harbor obligations under the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act), but go well above and beyond what the law requires.”

The company’s point: The DMCA shields it from liability for copyright violations its customers may commit on YouTube. This is basically what Google has been saying all along. And Viacom, for one, isn’t buying it. “It is obvious that YouTube has knowledge of infringing material on their site and they are profiting from it,” Viacom said in a terse statement. “It is simply not credible that a company whose mission is to organize the world’s information claims that it can’t find what’s on YouTube. Unfortunately, Google continues to distinguish itself by failing to join the majority of major digital companies that have affirmatively embraced the legal rights of copyright holders.”

So what’s next? A jury trial, apparently. After all, Google has demanded one. And there are currently no settlement negotiations under way. The two companies will meet on July 27 with the judge, who is then likely to set a courtroom schedule for a legal brawl that could change the future of online video.


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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald