Viacom Loses Lawsuit Against YouTube. But Will Get You Next Time.

Yeah Viacom lost that lawsuit against YouTube.

Says da judge: Because Google complies with any request from copyright holders to remove infringing content from YouTube it cannot be held liable itself for those infringements. Only in specific instances of failing to remove copyright-infringing content would YouTube be unable to claim safe harbour; mere knowledge of copyright infringement occurring on its service is not enough for YouTube to be culpable for that infringement.

Viacom executives had this to say (click for video).

YouTube’s Financial Situation & Saucy Details from Viacom Suit

The New York Times “DealBook” blog revealed some saucy stuff based on the thousands of pages of court filings made as part of Viacom’s copyright infringement suit against YouTube.
  • Viacom employees had secretly uploaded videos from the company’s movies and shows even as they were complaining about copyright violations, as The New York Times reported. Zoing!
  • USAToday’s “Juicy Details piece” puts it like this: “Google cites a marketing executive at Viacom’s Paramount studio who said that clips posted to YouTube “should definitely not be associated with the studio — should appear as if a fan created and posted it.” To accomplish that, Google says that “Viacom employees have made special trips away from the company’s premises (to places like Kinko’s) to upload videos to YouTube from computers not traceable to Viacom.” Kinkos FTW.

Payouts earned from the YouTube sale, as detailed by All Things D. Chaching! That’s a whole lotta sheep.

  • $516 million to Sequoia Capital
  • $334 million to co-founder Chad Hurley
  • $301 million to co-founder Steve Chen

All Things D also pulls some revenue figures from YouTube’s inception in January 2005 through August 2006, the last month before the company sold itself.

  • It wasn’t until December 2005 that YouTube started pulling in revenue, and it wasn’t until August 2006 that the company turned a profit. (The company showed a 186 percent jump between July and August of 2006, to $2.5 million.)

Wired Magazine also had a lengthy story documenting YouTube’s past 5 years, but it’s not online… which I find really annoying. Basically YouTube isn’t bleeding anymore, but it’s not exactly a “cash cow,” as Wired states (clearly someone didn’t read the Wikipedia on cash cow before filing their piece). I’m so over Wired.

Viacom Becomes Poster Child for Good Cause Gone Overboard

viacomm logo for public domainIf you think you have the worse job in the world, imagine working for Viacom in the public relations group. The organization has decided that, above all else, it must fiercely protect its copyrighted material. A worthy cause when your core asset is not your people, but your family of brands, movies and shows.

But is the legal attack on YouTube (which now appears to invade the privacy of YouTube creators and viewers) worth the fuss? Viacom is becoming the poster child for excess… a noble cause gone mannic like God-honoring terrorists. It’s making Disney look like Kevin MacLeod.

If you haven’t been keeping track, many of the most popular videos on YouTube right now anti-Viacom rants. In fact, I’m pretty sure I could hit the top of the “most rated” section if I shot a video of me pooping… as long as the title was “Viacom Sucks.” Heck- click here for a search on YouTube by the word “Viacom.”

TheReelWeeklyNews has made a whole cause out of calling out Viacom in a series of videos (with a somewhat annoyingly rhythmic speech pattern) that are further catalyzing the YouTube community’s absolute despise of Viacom. See video below.

Even the jaded are aghast. Viacom may have a legal right, but the PR damage will not soon heal. The real question is whether that damage will trickle down to Viacom’s otherwise beloved brands

We’re talking big names with strong equity: Paramount Pictures, Dreamworks, MTV, VH1, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, even AtomFilms and AddictingGames.

In the meantime, I’m staying the heck out of it, and making videos of myself pouring candy into my coffee. A cause against Viacom will forge a temporary bond among advocates of privacy and freedom of speech. But it’s fleeting. Like Stephen Covey says about bashing people behind their back… it forms a cheap morter.

I’d avocate that the energy now placed against Viacom (or Scientology for that matter) would be more influential if it was directed to a positive alternative. Kinda like athiesm — being anti-God isn’t really a sustainable position. You gotta be for something else. For athiests, maybe that’s pro-science or pro-intelligence or something. Not really sure. God strikes me as a bit more interesting than science. And while I’m on this tangent, why are athiests always trying to prove God doesn’t exist and force believers to prove He does? I believe in God but if you don’t, it doesn’t really concern me.

So what is that positive alternative to Viacom’s madness? I dunno. I’ll leave that to smarter people. I don’t even know what net neutrality means, so I’ll go penis poke someone.

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.