YouTube 1 Viacom 0
As the cultural shift swings ever faster away from traditional media sources, and the digital world blossoms, there was bound to be retaliation at some point. Large American broadcaster Viacom has been trying to sue YouTube (now owned by Google of course) over massive copyright infringement, namely users uploading copyrighted content to YouTube. Google’s defence was the ‘Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act’, part of the ‘Digital Millennium Copyright Act or DMCA, which provides ‘safe harbour’ for ISP’s against copyright infringement if they stick to a certain set of guidelines and promptly block access to the offending material/user.
Viacom argued that most of the ‘safe harbour’ provisions didn’t protect Google from the infringement claims, but digital freedom groups such as the EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) contended that if the arguments were upheld, they would compromise the viability of online content providers large and small, and that would count for other sites such as eBay, Facebook and Yahoo. As you might have guessed by now, the courts ruled in favour of Google and YouTube.
Google have recently posted on their blog: “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.”
It should be noted though that Viacom is not happy with this ruling and have released a statement saying they intend to appeal against it. For now, though, Google and YouTube have struck massive blows for both the freedom of information on the Internet and towards the death of traditional media.