YouTube Suit: The End Of The World As We Know It

I don't know about you, but I feel fine. Viacom doesn't. It sued Google, the owner of YouTube, for  $1 billion for copyright infringement. Google, in turn, doesn't feel fine either, because Viacom can sue them even though they claim they have made every attempt to comply with the DMCA. According to Google, the suit threatens the very existence of the sharing of any information on the Internet.

{Google] said YouTube was faithful to the requirements of the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act, saying the federal law was intended to protect companies like YouTube as long as they responded properly to content owners' claims of infringement.

On that score, Viacom says Google has set a terrible example.

In a rewritten lawsuit filed last month, Viacom said YouTube consistently allows unauthorized copies of popular television programming and movies to be posted on its Web site and viewed tens of thousands of times.

Viacom said it had identified more than 150,000 unauthorized clips of copyrighted programming — including "SpongeBob SquarePants," "South Park" and "MTV Unplugged" episodes and the documentary "An Inconvenient Truth" — that had been viewed "an astounding 1.5 billion times."

Hmm. I think Viacom might be under-exaggerating the level of potential copyright infringement out there. After all, my five-year-old alone has watched the same SpongeBob episode more than 1.5 billion times, and my older son has been shown Al Gore's movie about the overheated polar bears, in school, more than 1.5 billion times, too. Maybe they should have sued for $2 billion.
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