Mar 15, 2007

[Google] The $1 Billion Viacom Lawsuit

So it finally happened. Let's get real, everyone was expecting one of the media giants to do this sooner or later. Previously Viacom had already gone toe-to-toe with YouTube, and thus ultimately Google, by requesting for more than 100,000 videos to be removed, it's only natural for the media giant to take things to the next level with legal action. They've filed a lawsuit for no less than $1 billion in damages. Sweet.

YouTubeNow the truly important questions are going to get asked when it comes to DRM in these modern times of Web 2.0 initiatives and more user-focused services. Just how much responsibility does YouTube as the host site have in terms of managing its users? While their standing privacy policy states they will remove any copyrighted content at the request of the content owner, that puts the burden of policing the site on the content owner instead of the website administrators and owners, who also seek to gain profit from any related advertising also found on the site. This is the case that Viacom is attempting to argue.

It's hard to say how things should go. While the web is certainly full of free information supporters who will advocate that Viacom has no right to force such a decision on the larger web community, from a legal standpoint I'm sure their case holds some water at the end of the day. The content was stolen and posted illegally after all and thus the same group of people that made YouTube the wild success that it is today are ultimately the cause of the problem since they continue to post copyrighted content illegally.

YouTube is being used as more of a symbolic fight, one that will define how the web will grow within the next few years. It's not like they're the only ones responsible. Where are the lawsuits for the rest of the video-sharing sites? Those cases might be filed...eventually. Maybe. For now, this is the big fight, one that Viacom has chosen to fight since it finally has a large company to deal with (and potentially earn from), which of course is Google.

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