Viacom argues no safe harbor for YouTube
Arguing before the Second Circuit yesterday, Viacom renewed its $1 billion copyright infringement claim against YouTube. The colossal claim was first launched in 2007, and turns on the interpretation of the the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s safe harbor provisions.
According to the DMCA, a website like YouTube is liable for infringement only when it has “actual knowledge” that a user has posted protected material. Google, YouTube’s parent company, argues that such knowledge must be item-specific, and points out that it promptly removes clips when informed of a copyright violation. (Perhaps too promptly
, according to some Justin Bieber fanatics
.) Viacom, however, contends that mere general knowledge that users are posting copyrighted material should be sufficient to hold a content-hosting site liable.
In 2010, the Southern District sided with YouTube, prompting Viacom’s appeal to the Second Circuit. So far, federal courts hearing similar cases
have also favored Google’s point of view.
Thanks also to staffer Ken Liao for the link.