A federal judge has thrown out Viacom lawsuit accusing Google of posting its programmes on YouTube without permission, a year after a federal appeals court had revived the landmark copyright infringement case.
For the second time in three years, US district judge Louis Stanton in Manhattan rejected Viacom’s damages claims over Google’s alleged unauthorized posting of clips from The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, South Park, SpongeBob SquarePants and other programmes that viewers had uploaded to YouTube.
Stanton agreed that Google and YouTube were protected from Viacom’s copyright claims by the “safe harbour” provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
Viacom said it plans to appeal.
“This ruling ignores the opinions of the higher courts and completely disregards the rights of creative artists,” spokesman Jeremy Zweig said in an email. “A jury should weigh the facts of this case and the overwhelming evidence that YouTube willfully infringed.”
Kent Walker, Google’s general counsel, welcomed the decision.
“Congress got it right when it comes to copyright on the Internet,” he said. “This is a win not just for YouTube, but for people everywhere who depend on the Internet to exchange ideas and information.”
No wilful blindness
In Thursday’s decision, Stanton said the burden of proof remained on Viacom, rejecting its “ingenious” yet “extravagant” argument that YouTube did not deserve the safe harbour, and should instead monitor the contents of videos being uploaded at a rate of more than 24 hours of viewing time per minute.
Stanton concluded that YouTube neither exhibited wilful blindness, nor had the ability to control infringing activity, nor “interacted with infringing users to a point where it might be said to have participated in their infringing activity.”
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Been involved in technology for many years, more than I care to remember. Live in Dundee, Scotland. I like Android, Windows Phone OS, BlackBerry OS and iOS, and love writing about all things techie. Currently have a Honor 6+, Elephone P6000, Nexus 5, Chrombook C720, HTC One M7, Nokia Lumina 625, Microsoft Lumia 435, Blackberry Q10, HTC Hero and iPad mini
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