Silicon Valley Backs YouTube in Viacom Case
Google and YouTube have some powerful new allies in their pitched battle with Viacom: Yahoo, Facebook and eBay.
Earlier this week, the three companies filed amicus briefs in support of Google and YouTube, which are defending themselves against a $1 billion copyright lawsuit by Viacom. In the briefs, they urge the judge presiding over the case to dismiss Viacom’s suit, claiming to do otherwise is to violate protections given Google under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
[Viacom's] legal arguments, if accepted, would retard the development of the Internet and electronic commerce, create uncertainty for service providers regarding their legal exposure for alleged infringements, and inhabit the growth and development of user-centric online models that, day after day, make the Internet and the world more democratic.
The expression of support by Yahoo (YHOO), Facebook and eBay (EBAY) for Google follows a similar move by Hollywood. Earlier this month, Warner Bros., NBC Universal, Disney, the Screen Actors Guild and Directors Guild of America filed amicus briefs of their own arguing, as Viacom (VIA) has, that Google (GOOG) is not protected by the DMCA, which shields Internet service providers from liability for copyright violations committed by users.
The friends of the court in this case, then, are aligned on both sides. All that remains is to determine whether the DMCA protects YouTube. And Viacom is confident that the court will determine that it does not.
“The courts have been clear that creating and building a Web-based business on the intellectual property of others is illegal,” a Viacom spokesperson told Bloomberg. “That is exactly what YouTube did in its formative years. Nothing in this case threatens the principles of the DMCA or the ability of legitimate Internet-based businesses to flourish.”