Viacom’s Top-Ten Rejected Claims on Google

Viacom Knows What You Did Last Summer.

Holy shit. According to this Wired article, a judge ruled yesterday (Wednesday, July 2, 2008) that Google will have to turn over every record of every video watched by YouTube users, including users’ names and IP addresses, to Viacom. The order also requires Google to turn over copies of all videos that it has taken down for any reason.

Viacom is suing Google for allowing clips of its copyright videos to appear on YouTube, and wants the data to prove that infringing material is more popular than user-created videos, which could be used to increase Google’s liability if it is found guilty of contributory infringement.

Google argued that turning over the data would invade its users’ privacy, but the judge’s ruling (see pdf of ruling) described that argument as “speculative” and ordered Google to turn over the logs on a set of four tera-byte hard drives. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has already reacted, calling the order a violation of the Video Privacy Protection act that “threatens to expose deeply private information.”

The judge, in fairness, denied Viacom’s request for:

  1. YouTube’s source code, and the code for identifying repeat copyright infringement uploads
  2. Copies of all videos marked private and Google’s advertising database schema
  3. Chad Hurley and Steven Chen’s nuts on a silver platter
  4. Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman’s son Philippe Douman Jr (who works for Google) taking over as CEO for YouTube.
  5. The letter G removed from the alphabet.
  6. The internet being turned off until said disputes are settled
  7. A return to 1990 when big media had a profitable business model.
  8. Perpetualy indemnification from taxes by Viacom, its employees and any individual or company selected by the Viacom board.
  9. Eleven virgins for each Viacom senior executive.
  10. Viacom Day to replace 4th of July holiday.

64 Replies to “Viacom’s Top-Ten Rejected Claims on Google”

  1. I absolutely hate Viacom. I think they have gone wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy too far with this one, but then again, when did going too far ever stop Viacom from getting what it wants?

    I suppose I’m gonna get sued now for using a 4 second clip of Dancing with the Stars in one of my videos, huh? Well, my hopes of becoming famous have just ended.

  2. This is absurd, and a definite violation of privacy laws. But Viacom is a big company, and our current administration loves big companies with well-paid CEOs, so don’t expect any relief from them.

    Only 200 days to go.

  3. I an’t believe that Via om wants to astrate poor Steve hen and had Hurley, Via om is nothing more than a bun h of fu king unts.

  4. I blame oo le for this odawful misunderstandin .Not really. I blame Nalts for usin that tiny little font he uses. Us old people can’t read it that well.

  5. This is really big news – anyone catch the name of the judge and who he is related to at VIACON shakedown communications company?
    We need a list of the BOD and start mocking them.

    I have a feeling Viacom will spur a new ELF type organization, move over scientology.

    Congress postponed the canceling of the 4th Amendment until next week – I’d like to suggest everyone call and write their congressperson about these latest events. Simply put if Congress passes the Telecom Immunity Bill this will certainly aid Viacom when it comes to your rights or lack there of to privacy. the violation to copyright is a criminal act.

    Might want to let Obama know, since he’s planning on voting in favors of the Telecoms.

    The quickest way to fix this situation is for Congress to turn back the clock to at least blubblubtoolazytolookitupseethelink, at least before Clinton sold us out.

    I hope there is an Applet Court home over the weekend for googles sake.

    FYI anything, and I mean anything, bits of music, yes and even unintended background music and singing more than three notes to any published song recorded does put you in violation of copyright.

    To be on the safe side, because who knows what they may come up with, add the words fair use, educational purposes and political free speech to all your videos from here on out.

    Now that you know more about the law you can say you at least acted in good faith, just in case.

    I hope Congress does the right thing – If Viacom starts suing people I say we charge them a gazillion dollars for the use of the people’s airwaves; yes, you own them, they don’t (same with oil btw) and all those wires underground and dangling on poles, I say we charge them $1 million a foot for the use. what do you think?

    There are solutions, but it’s a lot easier if Congress Acts or Google (an Al Gore co.) starts filling Obama’s pajamas with google-bucks

  6. That’s why I hang around at the local library to watch all my YT porn and infringing stuff. I only watch Nalts videos from home.

  7. Marilyn,

    Presbyopia has been the bane of my existence for the last six or seven years. Usually to read anything I have to take my glasses off, but half the time I can barely read the print on this blog with my glasses on and with them off I can barely tell there are lines of text on the screen.

    I’m reaching “big print” stage I guess. Geez I hate getting old.

  8. Getting old sucks. I have bi-focals. Actually, progressive lenses. My husband used to say that his eyesight wasn’t going, his arms just weren’t long enough anymore.

  9. You don’t need any money now, they will take anything and everything you ever get in the future. Read what happen to the women in Minnesota in the RIAA law suit. What’s worse is the back biting that will ensue… Can you say Stasi? This judge was appointed by Reagan. He’s 80 years old Congress aka the people, allows this the US is going to turn into a nation of rats.

    “The judge granted a Viacom motion that records of every video watched by YouTube users, including their login names and IP addresses, be turned over to the entertainment giant.”

  10. Minor correction: a fractionalized nation of overfed stoolie rats who sing like a canary. The Witness Protection Program will go bankrupt.

    Secure erasing your harddrives will not save you.

  11. I can’t think of how many times South Park has ripped all sorts of people off, and they are part of Viacom. When Colbert ripped the star wars kid off did Viacom ask?

    Perhaps we just need more lawyers

  12. “Viacom can sue you just for accidentally clicking through to an MTV clip on YouTube…”

    Nawwww… really? I’m not sure about that. Just for watching? On what grounds? That’s like saying ASCAP or BMI or whoever can sue everyone in the crowd at a concert if the band plays a cover of “Smoke on the Water” or another copyrighted song of equal or greater cultural significance.

    I think the solution here is pretty cut-and-dried: Don’t broadcast other peoples’ stuff without permission, or you might get in trouble.

    Is this a bit extreme on the part of Viacom? Probably. But are they within their rights to do what they’re doing? Yeah, actually, they are. Doesn’t make it right, but I tellya what, those same laws protect my work from being used without my permission, too… And your work… and yours… and yours… and yours… and YOURS.

  13. Just for watching? On what grounds?

    To watch a YouTube clip is to download it to your computer.

    The RIAA sues people for downloading music. The MPAA sues people for downloading movies. Viacom can sue you for downloading clips.

  14. Seriously guys. How much trouble could I get in? I mean, it’s not just a few people who use youtube, there are millions of users out there, and does viacom expect to sue each and everyone of them?

    I hate viacom sooooo much.

  15. I mean, it’s not just a few people who use youtube, there are millions of users out there, and does viacom expect to sue each and everyone of them?

    They don’t need to sue everyone. They just need to sue a few people to set an example.

    Pray you’re not one of them.

  16. Oh, Mike Abundo, I should probably start kissing up to Viacom then, in order not to be one of the people they sue, huh?

    Viacom is keane.

  17. To be sure there are some people on YT that are chronic infringers. I think they will be the targets. And they should be.

    This crap about prosecuting everyone who ever looked at, saw, heard, thought about, dreamed about any piece of copyrighted material without paying the rights holder is just that. Crap. There isn’t enough room on the dockets, legal expertise or money to fund such a legal Manhattan Project. If they do go after everyone, they will cut their own throats. The MPAA has already pissed of a lot of folks. This witch hunt is intended to intimidate the many by slapping a few. Legal Terrorism.

    Isn’t it ironic that we are having this conversation on Independence Day. That makes my spine tingle.

  18. jimmer

    you might want to have that spine tingling thing checked out. maybe you have a tick.

  19. ok you asked 😉

    this is closer to Canadian law but…
    You can upload anything you want online, however, you can not download copyright without permission. Downloading is the actual theft. When Youtube accepts your upload they are downloading, if it happens to be copyrighted material they are stealing or at best laundering stolen goods. When you watch that copyrighted video on Youtube you are downloading from a crook. By downloading from the crook you are an accomplices to the theft.This may have no bearing on US law, but I wanted to throw the bit of a catch22 out there.

    If US law works in a similar way you are not immune that means you too Slater. If you watched anything that violates copyright online you are an accomplice to the crime.

    The good and bad news is Google can appeal, so part of this ruling is also is a PR campaign by Google and they are also making damn sure they spread and share any of the blame with and on you.

    The bad bad news is, if Google loses the appeal their TOS (the thing nobody reads), actually anyone’s TOS on privacy is worth shit and that’s a whole huge other mess – Spring Time for Lawyers!

    Further bad news is, if it is ruled later that somehow YouTube is not responsible for their users this could mean YOU ARE in deep deep shit and Viacom now has all the data to go after you and randomly screw up your life. The more popular or well known you are the more likely a target you will become.

    Here’s a very simi-short summary, the part of the case people are really pissed about. If I tarry too far just ask or point.

    Viacom’s Very Smart Lawyers:
    we want the “”Logging” database for each instance a video is watched, the unique “login ID” of the user who watched it, the time when the user started to watch the video, the internet protocol address other devices connected to the internet use to identify the user’s computer (“IP address”), and the identifier for the video.”

    Viacom Very Smart Lawyers Also Say:
    Google told us that the “database (which is stored on live computer hard drives) is the only existing record of how often each video has been viewed during various time periods. Its data can “recreate the number of views for any particular day of a video.””

    Viacom’s Very Smart Lawyers WANT:
    “all data from the Logging database concerning each time a YouTube video has been viewed on the YouTube website or through embedding on a third-party website.”

    This last part is really funny, but not so funny. Viacom is saying You Tube is responsible for all links to its site through blogs, website, download, you name it! It’s SWEEPING! How they will account for a living person behind every IP including anonymous proxies is beyond me.

    But, think about it, they could potentially sue everyone with a computer! The user, the company that provides the user with a connection, any company computer where a user watched a copyright video, every state that has a library with a computer and a user who watched a copyright video.

    Back to the case…
    Google’s Wimpy Lawyers Say:
    “The data should not be disclosed because of the users’ privacy concerns…” this request “would likely be able to determine the viewing and video uploading habits of YouTube’s users based on the user’s login ID and the user’s IP address”” (google actually wants that for itself)

    Viacom’s Very Smart Lawyers Yell Back!:
    Google _CITED “NO_ authority barring them from disclosing such information in civil discovery proceedings, and their privacy concerns are _SPECULATIVE_” <–key words, the judge’s eyes opened wide!

    Viacom Very Smart Lawyers Also Yell:
    Google said, we do not refute that the “login ID is an anonymous pseudonym that users create for themselves when they sign up with YouTube” which without more “cannot identify specific individuals” AND Google TOLD US that even though they “are strong supporters of the idea that data protection laws should apply to any data that could identify you,” AND GOOGLE SAID – “THE REALITY IS though that in most cases, an IP address without additional information cannot.” Alma Whitten Google Employee <—AlmaofGoogle just shot the company in the foot.

    The Judge seeing the words ‘did not cite, is speculative, and even Google said it was cool!’ Ruled the following – “Therefore, the motion to compel production of all data from the Logging database concerning each time a YouTube video has been viewed on the YouTube website or through embedding on a third-party website is granted.”

    So based on what Google DIDN’T DO in discovery and the fact that they promised your privacy was protected when you signed up, the Judge ruled correctly.

    Giving Viacom your Youtube ID along with your IP, that combination, Google should have argued harder, but they couldn’t because that would make their TOS a LIE! and they would be sued not only by Viacom, but by, well, all of us.

    The ironic thing is any savvy computer user already knows you can not hide. Apparently, the Judge doesn’t know that, but then his ruling was based on discovery only.

    What Google and a bunch of other companies don’t want you to know is, you can’t hide online, you can only be a better hider.

    Marketers do not want better hiders, they want real IPs with real people. If Google couldn’t prove you were real their stock would be nil, they’d be pretty much out of business and back in the computer lab at Stanford. Right Kevin?

  20. FYI: Just be careful since Viacom last year was awarded the musical notes of middle C through C6. So if you plan on scoring your own tunes please avoid use of these notes.

    Since Al Gore invented the internet we are hoping he will supply us with an new alternative ‘Green’ network. Maybe one based on cans attached with strings or something. Then perhaps we could start all over with “YouBube” or “BitterTwitter”, no?

  21. Hmmm collating…collating.

    The only guarantee of against disclosure to the end user is Googles TOS and since that TOS isn’t supported by black letter law it is nul and void hence Google’s clients are open to liability. Google could be sued into oblivion by the both infringed and the infringers. wow. This is all based on the assumption that US and Canadian law agree on the chain of responsiblity.

  22. You Tube Responds:

    The Law and Your Privacy
    As you may have seen in the news, YouTube received a court order to produce viewing data from our database, including usernames and IP addresses. In order to protect our community’s privacy, we strongly opposed this motion when Viacom and others filed it.

    The court felt differently and ordered us to produce the data. Viacom said that they need general viewing information to determine the proportion of views on YouTube of copyright infringing content vs. non-infringing content.

    Of course, we have to follow legal process. But since IP addresses and usernames aren’t necessary to determine general viewing practices, our lawyers have asked their lawyers to let us remove that information before we hand over the data they’re seeking. (You should know, IP addresses identify a computer, not the person using it. It’s not possible to determine your identity solely based on your IP address. Rather, an IP address can reveal what geographic area you’re connecting from, or which Internet service provider you’re using.)

    Why do we keep this information in the first place? It helps us personalize the YouTube experience, getting you closer to the videos you most want to watch. We have many features on the site that help users discover and share compelling content, and we’re improving the video experience through recommendations, related videos, and personalized directories that help you find meaningful videos.

    We’ll continue to fight for your right to share and broadcast your work. The court did impose some encouraging limits — they agreed with us that Viacom should not have access to private videos or our search technology. Also, the information we provide will be designated highly confidential under court order and only Viacom’s outside counsel and experts will have access to it.

    Legal matters aside, our focus remains on providing you with the best possible YouTube experience and we continue to be committed to protecting your privacy. Every day, millions of creative people from around the world are posting new, original content. You, our community, are creating the YouTube experience now and tomorrow.

    The YouTube Team

  23. “Why do we keep this information in the first place? It helps us personalize the YouTube experience, getting you closer to the videos you most want to watch.”

    excuse me…

    “We’ll continue to fight for your right to share and broadcast your work. The court did impose some encouraging limits — they agreed with us that Viacom should not have access to private videos or our search technology. Also, the information we provide will be designated highly confidential under court order and only Viacom’s outside counsel and experts will have access to it.:

    pardon me…

    The YouTube Team

    pardon me one more time


    ok done.

  24. Maybe Viacom just wants to come up with a new ‘reality show’. You know, show up with video cameras when they serve the users. Use it as competition against NBC’s ‘To Catch a Predator”. Sort of like Publisher’s Clearinghouse in reverse.

    Maybe call it “CSI: DCMA (Damn Customers Muddle up Assets)” < Me posting that. Is this a violation? It is on CBS you know?

    Won’t Viacom be surprised to see how many times their own ISP comes up on YouTube!

    Sorry… I just have to laugh or I’d go Renetto.

  25. They know they have to go forward in court, because the existing case law would seem to be in Googs favor – they provide a service and can’t be expressly held responsible for what their users upload. Goog can demonstrate all of the measures they have taken to work with the copyright holders as acts of good faith. It’s all very similar to the P2P lawsuits and the like.

    Viacom is making a play to get information from YT/Goog on the copyright infringers. Is there anyone anywhere that actually believes Viacom when they say that they will only use the information obtained to help prove their case against YT? 1 billion dollars isn’t enough for these guys, they won’t stop until they’ve DMCA’d the hell out of any idiot dumb enough to upload any episode of anything they’ve ever broadcast or established.

  26. ^now THAT’S actually funny, not the youtube kind of funny.

    You all realize that Google just handed everything over to a very large corporation who now has the power not only pry into your viewing habits, but to sue all of you for any infraction they can muster. You do know people are making deals with the RIAA because they don’t want the hassle, even people who do not own or understand computer.

    Perhaps, there is little outrage because everyone is so confused and still in a state of shock?

    Folks, Google (an Al Gore CompanyTM) didn’t even bother to appeal! Is that a surprise? Elvis has left the building and you holding the bag.

    I’d start working on a campaign for amnesty and take down or allow any large corporation to monetize off your videos if there happens to be ANY copyrighted material or product what-so-ever lying around in the background. You do know that just saying a corporations name in a bad light is next, right? Read AT&T’s TOS, I dare you!

    Yes, yes, I know you are thinking, what is this some kind of conspiracy bullshit theory rant?! Let’s test a theory, when Congress covens next week you are quite likely to see the 4th Amendment wiped off the Bill O’Rights map and if you don’t think these large corporations are out to destroy your Freedom of Speech next, let me introduce you to Yahoo/China [click] (see sukatra, comes in handy)

    Kevin, is it really true that humans taste like chicken? Are you offering yourself up to the corporate gods for all of us or was that just a pharmaceutical drug induced subconscious mistake? I’m hoping it was the Rebellious Kevin that rue the day; motorcycle, gruffly unshaven, teetering on the edge of danger by playing chicken with a front yard sapling in a brightly colored leather faced chicken outfit. You are the new Fonzi! in a yuppie sort of way. Back off ladies, he’s married!

    Of course, everyone could get active, call your Congress-peoples’ people and ask them to alert their bosses to change the laws in favor of you, the little people, or take up a collection and slip them several tens-of-thousands of dollars under the table to do the right thing, the latter being less time consuming and more efficient.

    Well, at least it’s better than just gripping, poo-pooing it off or doing nothing, I guess.

  27. Oh come on now Jan, we can trust the big corporations, they wouldn’t do anything unethical or wrong. Besides, why should I care about this stuff, how does this affect ME? Why should I care about anything that isn’t about ME?

  28. “First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out –
    because I was not a Socialist.

    Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out –
    because I was not a Trade Unionist.

    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out –
    because I was not a Jew.

    Then they came for me – and there was no one left to speak for me.”

    -Martin Niemöller (1892–1984)

  29. The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. — Thomas Jefferson

  30. ^are those copy written farts?

    I have the cure for this little problem you seem to be having of late sukatra, if you would like to read about it you can buy my new book
    online at (a place that used to mean a type of jungle) for $24.95 or if you want you can wait until next year when it will be in paperback, at half the cost. Can you hold out and hold it in until then?

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