Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

YouTube CEO Chad Hurley: Here’s My Viacom Victory Dance

Viacom promises to appeal the summary judgment that Google (GOOG) has earned in the long-running YouTube/Viacom copyright case. So it’s possible that this thing will get bounced around a few more times before it gets resolved.

Still, today’s news is a decisive, clear-cut victory for the giant video site. So you can understand why YouTube co-founder Chad Hurley wanted to perform a little victory dance this evening, via Twitter:

If you’ve spent any time at all on YouTube–or on the Internet, for that matter–you can probably guess where that link brought you:

Equal time! Here’s a less ebullient response from Viacom (VIA), via chief lawyer Michael Fricklas:

We are disappointed with the judge’s ruling, but confident we will win on appeal.

Copyright protection is essential to the survival of creative industries. It is and should be illegal for companies to build their businesses with creative material they have stolen from others. Without this protection, investment in the development of art and entertainment would be discouraged, and the many artists and producers who devote their lives to creating it would be hurt. Copyright protection is also critical to the web–because consumers love professional content and because legitimate websites shouldn’t have to compete with pirates.

YouTube and Google demonstrated that required tools to limit piracy aren’t impossible to find or even that difficult to implement–they fixed the problem of rampant piracy on YouTube after Viacom filed this lawsuit.

Before that, however, YouTube and Google stole hundreds of thousands of video clips from artists and content creators, including Viacom, building a substantial business that was sold for billions of dollars. We believe that should not be allowed by law or common sense.

This case has always been about whether intentional theft of copyrighted works is permitted under existing law and we always knew that the critical underlying issue would need to be addressed by courts at the appellate levels. Today’s decision accelerates our opportunity to do so.

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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