Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Google says Viacom's YouTube lawsuit threatens exchange of info on the Net

Viacom International Inc.'s $1 billion copyright infringement lawsuit against YouTube LLC and its parent company, Google Inc., threatens the way that hundreds of millions of people legitimately exchange various kinds of content via the Internet, Google contended in an answer to an amended version of the complaint filed by Viacom last month. Google, which was sued by Viacom in March 2007, made similar arguments against the lawsuit in an initial response filed last spring. Google, which acquired YouTube in late 2006, said in its filing that the video-sharing Web site has adhered to the federal Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The DMCA provides a framework for regulating copyrights in the world of electronic content. It gives copyright holders procedures to follow to protect their content when alleged violations occur, and it offers protections to Web-based businesses and Internet users to cover unintentional posting of copyrighted materials. In its amended complaint, which requests a jury trial, Viacom said that while You Tube claims to be a forum for users to share their own original videos, a vast amount of the content posted on the site consists of "infringing copies" of Viacom's copyrighted works. That includes material from popular TV shows and movies such as SpongeBob SquarePants, South Park, An Inconvenient Truth, Mean Girls and many more.

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