Peter Kafka

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YouTube Beats Viacom in Copyright Case, Again

YouTube first won its copyright case against Viacom three years ago. Today it has won it again: The same federal judge who favored the video giant in 2010 has re-affirmed his decision.

Details in a second, but for the shortest attention spans, check out YouTube co-founder Chad Hurley’s victory dance, directed at Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman, on Twitter:


Shortish version: Last year, Viacom convinced the Second Circuit Court of Appeals to make U.S. District Court Judge Louis Stanton review his 2010 ruling. He did, and finds that YouTube is still in the clear.

In essence, he argues that YouTube and its corporate owner Google enjoy broad protection against copyright violation claims because of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act — just like YouTube and Google have argued. Not surprisingly, Viacom says it will appeal.

Stanton’s decision is quite emphatic. In one of his choicest quotes, he dings Viacom for making its case based on “an anachronist, pre Digital Millennium Copyright Act concept.”

Also of note: Stanton’s decision frequently cites a different but parallel set of copyright case suits by Universal Music Group against Veoh, a now-defunct video service; judges in those cases have also sided in favor of Web aggregators versus copyright owners.

Here’s YouTube’s initial comment: “The court correctly rejected Viacom’s lawsuit against YouTube, reaffirming that Congress got it right when it comes to copyright on the Internet. This is a win not just for YouTube, but for people everywhere who depend on the Internet to exchange ideas and information.” (Update: Here’s a YouTube blog post that says the same thing with more words.)

And here’s Viacom’s: “This ruling ignores the opinions of the higher courts and completely disregards the rights of creative artists. We continue to believe that a jury should weigh the facts of this case and the overwhelming evidence that YouTube willfully infringed on our rights, and we intend to appeal the decision.”

Here’s the ruling:

Viacom v. YouTube

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