Judge in Viacom-Google battle wants some case files opened to the public

The Google-Viacom brouhaha is about to become a little more public after the federal judge overseeing the case told lawyers from both sides he wants them to unseal some of the potentially juiciest documents in the case and release them to the public.

The Wall Street Journal's Peter Kafka said the judge wants both sides to work together and decide on information that can be made public. (OK, there's a non-starter ... Google and Viacom are at such loggerheads over copyrights that they're buying new Porches for all their lawyers with all the legal fees they're piling up ... and the judge wants them to agree on what sensitive documents-most of which make them look stupid--can be released? Hmm.)

Specifically, the judge wants each party to release their documents that apply to each side's requests for summary judgments against the other party. Even that little bit of the case could result in a blizzard of paper coming out, perhaps within the next two weeks.

As a refresher, the three-year-old suit was brought by Viacom, which is suing Google for "massive intentional copyright infringement." Viacom says YouTube knowingly made available some 160,000 clips of Viacom entertainment properties. Google, meanwhile, has maintained that the "fair use" doctrine of copyright law, which allows for the non-commercial reproduction of work should protect it.

The battle has surprised many copyright aficionados who saw the Viacom suit as a negotiating tool aimed at forcing Google to knuckle under and make a licensing deal. Uh, no. That one didn't work out.

So, now, the case is starting to again gain some traction and both parties are going to have their dirty laundry-did Google really look the other way as materials were uploaded? Better yet, was it Viacom employees secretly doing the uploading?-aired in front of the public.

Unless the judge is taking a page from Viacom's playbook and trying to force both sides to blink.

For more:
- see this Journal blog

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