Viacom appeals YouTube copyright ruling

Viacom is hoping to resurrect its copyright infringement lawsuit against YouTube, launching an appeal in a New York federal court that seeks to overturn a 2010 district court ruling that sided with Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG) video site. In that case, a judge ruled YouTube was protected under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

The decision, Viacom argues, "will lead to the vast exploitation of material on the Internet" and make it difficult for content owners to protect the rights to their programs. It argued that if not overturned, the ruling "would immunize from copyright infringement liability even avowedly piratical Internet businesses."

The case is being argued before the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

Content owners have reason to be concerned because, as critics of the DMCA point out, the act allows web sites virtually blanket protection from infringement lawsuits if they take down infringing content when asked by content owners.

Since the original suit was filed, YouTube has adopted technology that helps it identify clips that are suspect as soon as they are posted. Viacom wants YouTube to determine if a clip infringes on copyright before they post it.

YouTube, meanwhile, argued that a content owner is in "the best position to know" if a video should be taken down because it infringes on a copyright, and Google has taken steps to be able to spike clips within 24 hours of a content owners request.

It also said the DMCA gives web site operators protection from "crushing infringement claims."

"The statute makes copyright owners, not service providers, responsible for policing their copyrights by identifying, and, if they choose, requesting the removal of infringing material," YouTube's lawyers argued. "Copyright holders are the ones in a position to know what material they own, what they have licensed and where they want their works to appear online."

For more:
- see this WSJ article

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