A federal judge has ruled in favor of YouTube once more, shooting down claims made by Viacom that the Google-owned video service infringes on its intellectual property. Judge Stanton agreed with Google that it was protected under the "Safe Harbor" provisions of the DMCA.
At the heart of the matter was a never-ending stream of YouTube videos originating from various Viacom properties, including the "The Daily Show" and "SpongeBob SquarePants". As the parent company of Paramount Pictures, Viacom also owns numerous other content outlets like Spike, Nickelodeon, MTV and Comedy Central.
Viacom had originally sued YouTube in 2007, citing rampant, "intentional" piracy of their video content. After a three-year legal battle, the court ruled in favor of YouTube in 2010. However, troubled that the ruling would "completely destroy" copyrights, Viacom invoked its right to appeal, prompting yet another look at the intellectual property case.
"This ruling ignores the opinions of the higher courts and completely disregards the rights of creative artists," Viacom said in response to the latest ruling. "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."
On the other hand, Google said, "The court correctly rejected Viacom’s lawsuit against YouTube, reaffirming that Congress got it right when it comes to copyright on the Internet."
Not surprisingly, Viacom intends to once again appeal the decision.
Judge Stanton ruled that the burden of determining whether or not videos uploaded to YouTube are subject to copyright is an intractable task for the company -- one of the cornerstones of its defense. Viacom though, Stanton ruled, should be the one responsible for reporting unauthorized content to YouTube.
Although Viacom and YouTube have remained embroiled in legal accusations, the two have managed to find some common ground over the years. A deal was struck between the two companies, allowing YouTube to stream Paramount movies in a rental-style service. Meanwhile, YouTube deployed and continues to improve upon its anti-piracy filter.
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