Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Big victory for YouTube in Viacom case

In a decision that could have had a dampening effect on the growth of similar sites, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York today ruled that YouTube is protected from claims of copyright infringement against it because of their swift actions to take down offending material.
The ruling is a defeat for Viacom, the plaintiffs in the case. Lawyers for YouTube and Google moved for a summary judgement claiming that the Digital Millennium Copyright Act provides "safe harbor" protection against the claims against them.

"In this case, it is uncontroverted that when YouTube was given the notices, it removed the material. It is thus protected “from liability for all monetary relief for direct, vicarious and contributory infringement” subject to the specific provisions of the DMCA. Senate Report at 40, House Report at 50," the court wrote in its judgement.

Google reacted immediately, proclaiming the ruling a victory for its customers.

"This is an important victory not just for us, but also for the billions of people around the world who use the web to communicate and share experiences with each other. We’re excited about this decision and look forward to renewing our focus on supporting the incredible variety of ideas and expression that billions of people post and watch on YouTube every day around the world," wrote Kent Walker, Vice President and General Counsel for Google, on its YouTube blog page.