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Viacom Vs. YouTube, Beyond Privacy

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  • Hmm (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 12, 2008 @12:03PM (#24164581)

    The "law" is increasingly siding with "rights owners."

    So?

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      One page version of the article. [businessweek.com]

      You'd have thought Taco would be linking to the print version whenever possible by now...

    • Re:Hmm (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Merls the Sneaky (1031058) on Saturday July 12, 2008 @12:16PM (#24164671)

      The "law" is increasingly siding with "rights owners."

      So?

      So the law should be neutral, it should not side with either party. Thats how you are supposed to get fair rulings.

      • Re:Hmm (Score:5, Informative)

        by lazyDog86 (1191443) on Saturday July 12, 2008 @12:42PM (#24164825)

        I disagree strongly. The "law" is always picking winners and losers. Often we all agree: muggers should be the losers and their victims should be the "winners," albeit not the best win you'll ever get seeing a guy who robbed you sent to prison. It's the best the legal system can do for you.

        But, as you get into more commercial areas, the law is picking winners and losers all of the time in ways that there is not so much general agreement as to who the winners and losers should be, often skewing things in favor of existing players. I meant who writes the law? Politicians. And, as near as I can figure, it's axiomatic here on /. that they're all as corrupt as humanly possible. So the "law" favors whoever gives them the most money.

        Now I do tend to agree with you that we still do a pretty good job when it comes to the adjudication of the law that judges should be, and are usually neutral. And they with usually result in fair rulings under the law. But the laws were written by politicians and that is the problem.

        • Re:Hmm (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Doctor_Jest (688315) on Saturday July 12, 2008 @12:58PM (#24164953)

          I should think that the law is what it is... it does not choose sides, favor one party over another, nor does it pick "winners and losers." It exists. It provides a baseline, a boundary if you will, from which a blind justice system works its magic.

          The court system is set up that (ideally) you are innocent until proven guilty, you have a right to a speedy and public trial, and you are not required to incriminate yourself. (And not taking the stand doesn't admit guilt or innocence... SO many jurors need that hit into their heads with a big hammer.) Yes, things have come to pass that call those things into question, but for the most part, we're _supposed_ to get that regardless of our accusations or status in society.

          The cases that we see the most abuse of the built-in legal fairness (that's taken many hundreds of years to get "stuck"... and should not be taken lightly) are when a "vested" interest (i.e. an entity with loads of cash) dictates the "reasonable" tests and information requests that usually precede a case. (We can see examples of this with the MPAA/RIAA, and now Viacom.) We also see this as an issue in terms of criminal cases where the defendant is loaded to the gills with disposable income. So, I'm guessing that "money" (in all its forms) is the factor in our legal system that makes the law "choose", and creates inequality.

          What we need is many improvements, but you get the gist of the problem with this case w/r/t Viacom. The only difference here is Google's got a stack of cash that is probably making Viacom have a wicked case penis envy. :)

          You are correct, in that the laws are written these days with the built-in bias favoring the last asshole who gave said politician cash (Fritz Hollings was a crystal clear example of appeasing his greatest benefactor, and that sure as shit wasn't the people of South Carolina.)

          The court system is supposed to have a built in filter for the abuse, but it appears we are missing the primary component to fix the problem (lawyers need to stop looking at the money and start redeeming themselves for centuries of ass-reaming and start CHALLENGING the unconstitutional and pathetically biased laws that get passed.) Trouble is, they are on the take just as much as those who write the laws. So if we can't get the unfit law _to_ the court, we can't rely on the court to strike it down. And in recent days, obviously unconstitutional laws are a hit and miss affair. (some getting their just desserts, while others are still there and bloody well sanctioned by SCOTUS).

          I apologize for the rambling... but I haven't eaten breakfast yet. ;)
               

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by KGIII (973947)
            Just a bit of additional information/clarification. Viacom is a member of the MPAA. (Paramount Pictures Viacom.)
            • Yes indeed... hence the underlying problem. ;) But that's to be understood, given their distasteful rhetoric...

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by lazyDog86 (1191443)

            Well, I would say just a couple of things here. First as to the point of view that the law simply exists, I don't believe that is true. My point was that laws are written by men (you may exclude the Ten Commandments if you are so inclined without too much damage to my argument) and men are fundamentally political animals and, as such, are well aware that they are picking winners and losers when they write such laws. Saying the law simply exists denies this dynamic nature of it, particularly dynamic are cert

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Trailer Trash (60756)

          I meant who writes the law? Politicians. And, as near as I can figure, it's axiomatic here on /. that they're all as corrupt as humanly possible. So the "law" favors whoever gives them the most money.

          It's worse than that. The media company lawyers wrote the DMCA, and greased the right politicians to get it passed. It's funny that they're now angry that their own law apparently wasn't enough for them.

          Politicians rarely write these big laws. They're written by special interests and given to their own bough

      • Re:Hmm (Score:5, Insightful)

        by strabes (1075839) on Saturday July 12, 2008 @12:44PM (#24164841)
        Perhaps it should have read "the law is more frequently deciding in favor of rights holders."
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Tjebbe (36955)

          you know, i actually read 'rights owners' in the original line as the users. Where did their rights go?

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by bit01 (644603)

          Perhaps it should have read "the law is more frequently deciding in favor of rights holders."

          Perhaps it should have read "the law is more frequently deciding in favor of rights claimers."

          As usual copyright fanatics engage in circular reasoning. By definition, ownership (holder) is the right to control.

          Problem is, many people don't agree with that self-serving definition of ownership. Many citizens, in fact judging by the amount of piracy going on the vast majority of citizens, think that current copyright

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        No, it should indeed side with whoever is in the legal right.

        The correct criticism is that these people shouldn't have been granted (yes granted, these aren't natural rights or natural persons) such sweeping legal rights in the first place! And now you know where to properly place the blame: Congress

        • by debatem1 (1087307)
          Courts should; law shouldn't. If law doesn't respond to more than just itself it is no more than an exercise in political masturbation.
      • Re:Hmm (Score:5, Insightful)

        by cunamara (937584) on Saturday July 12, 2008 @03:07PM (#24165771)

        The law is not neutral. The law is not intended to be neutral. Laws permit or forbid certain forms of conduct according to legal, moral or ethical principles as the case may be. That's not neutral. If the law was neutral and did not side with either party, you would get a ruling based on the proclivity of the judge and not on the law.

        The law frequently protects certain people, and one set of such people are the owners of copyrighted content. The law sides with them to prevent the unauthorized duplication of their content. Fair use allows you to make copies for private use, which is the primary exception. Fair use does not and never has provided a right to make copies for others and that includes posting copies of songs, videos, etc. to sites like YouTube. That is illegal and Viacom et al are within their rights to go after that illegal distribution of their content.

        Slashdotters, otherwise generally intelligent, have a subset who are unable to see this for what it is and believe that copyright should not be respected. Consider that there are tens of thousands of illegal clips posted to YouTube, the cumulative financial effect of which could conceivably be millions of dollars. Viacom and other content owners are within their rights to get those taken down and to consider pursuing prosecution against the people who posted them.

        The interesting thing is the issue of fining YouTube, eBay etc. is whether these Web sites are common carriers or not. The phone company is not held responsible for the content of phone calls nor is the Post Office held responsible for the contents of packages, because they are common carriers. Is eBay a common carrier? If so, they are not responsible for the sale of knockoffs on their Web sites. Ditto YouTube. This could conceivably end up in the Supreme Court for final adjudication because it is a critical, defining issue- and Google and eBay have the money to go there.

        To take the case to the absurd and yet logical conclusion, let's imagine Louis Vitton suing the City of New York because it doesn't stop the same of cheap knockoffs in the subway system, or Viacom trying to get the names from the NYCPD of anyone who bought duped DVDs from the same hucksters. Both would be impossible and yet those are the brick-and-mortar equivalents. In these cases it's a matter of shooting at the easy targets because of the nature of the Internets and IP addresses reducing anonymity.

        • Re:Hmm (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Lunarsight (1053230) on Saturday July 12, 2008 @03:55PM (#24166045) Homepage

          Slashdotters, otherwise generally intelligent, have a subset who are unable to see this for what it is and believe that copyright should not be respected.

          It's not so much that we believe that copyright shouldn't be respected, but we also see when the legal system is being blatantly manipulated.

          In the case of Viacom, one must ask if they truly need all the data they are asking for, or if a more limited data set would have been sufficient. I think the judge here could have done a better job giving Viacom the tools they needed to make their case without blatantly infringing on the privacy of every Youtube user.

          I can't speak for others, but I personally don't trust Viacom with the data they are requesting. Regardless of what stipulations the judge may have put on the usage of the data, I think it creates a dangerous precedent letting them have it. The RIAA has historically been known to bend and break the rules to get what they want - what's to stop Viacom from doing the same?

          I work in the healthcare industry, and the general rule of thumb is you give the external party the bare minimum amount of data in order to do what they need to do. Any fields that they don't need - you remove them. It's that simple.

        • by ShakaUVM (157947)

          Except Viacom is requesting all of Youtube's records, which means they now not only have a record of who accessed the video's that I've uploaded, but also which videos I've watched, both of which are illegal under the VPPA, and have nothing to do with their lawsuit at all.

          • by jedidiah (1196)

            Viacom are being granted things that ARE NOT WITHIN THEIR RIGHTS
            at all based on the actual law. Some clueless judge is pretty
            much just rubber stamping whatever Viacom wants. Discovery is
            not supposed to be a big fishing expedition.

        • by debatem1 (1087307)
          I think most of your analysis is on point, but let me just address a pet peeve of mine- being within your rights is not the same thing as being right to do something. Appeals to existing law may be fine in the courtroom, but they don't prove that a given behavior is socially, morally, or ethically correct.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Mr. Slippery (47854)

          Slashdotters, otherwise generally intelligent, have a subset who are unable to see this for what it is and believe that copyright should not be respected.

          It is entirely possible to agree that the law is as you state it is, and yet also believe that it should not be respected.

          The fact that the law says we should or should not do X, has very little (if any) bearing on the ethical question of whether we should or should not do X.

          But it is not at all clear that the law is as you state it is:

          Fair use does

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Keen Anthony (762006)

          . Consider that there are tens of thousands of illegal clips posted to YouTube, the cumulative financial effect of which could conceivably be millions of dollars.

          I generally agree with you, however given the quality and run time of these clips, Viacom can't accurately and realistically show financial damage. They can show copyright infringement in general, yes, but they can't show they've been negatively impacting by it. Look at the types of content Viacom is angry about: clips from television shows and fil

    • by rbanffy (584143)

      How about those who own the right to privacy?

      • Re:Hmm (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Original Replica (908688) on Saturday July 12, 2008 @01:36PM (#24165223) Journal
        How about those who own the right to privacy?

        We have lost that right by failing to practice due diligence in protecting it. It's like a right-of-way footpath in the UK. If you let people walk across your land often enough, they develop a legal right to walk across your land. This is what is happening with our privacy; it is being trodden on but we are failing to take effective action to prevent that, so precedent is being set to allow more corporations and government agencies to walk all over our right to privacy.

        Now the courts have spoken in regards to our privacy on YouTube, so that particular video sharing sight should be avoided or we should stop talking about a right to privacy because we will have willingly abdicated that right. No you cannot have it both ways. If you have anything posted on YouTube, I suggest you pull it and post it somewhere else. Because this isn't just giving them a footpath over your privacy be over the marketing possibilities of your video IP. If you stay on YouTube, get used to the idea that Viacom will be pinching your ideas if you get good traffic.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      The "law" is increasingly siding with "rights owners."

      Could be scary... if sites that host other people's speech are liable when that speech isn't allowed (whether for copyright, or libel, or posting classified stuff, or ...) instead of just being required to remove it and possibly ID the poster, it's going to be even more difficult to find online "public" spaces [slashdot.org] that allow free speech, or maybe just harder to find any sort of online "public" space at all.

    • YouTube is increasingly important in daily society. This video documentary, ironically enough hosted on YouTube, demonstrates the impact of YouTube [youtube.com] [youtube.com].
  • Heard this before (Score:4, Interesting)

    by BeerGood (561775) on Saturday July 12, 2008 @12:05PM (#24164591)
    Anyone here watch sxephil on YouTube? Now there's an opinion.
  • rights owners? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by v1 (525388) on Saturday July 12, 2008 @12:06PM (#24164595) Homepage Journal

    The law is increasingly siding with rights owners."

    And he who has the bucks tends to be the owner.

    Nothing new here?

    • Re:rights owners? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by unbug (1188963) on Saturday July 12, 2008 @12:16PM (#24164655)
      And the bucks usually go to the ones the law sides with. Resistance is futile!
    • by mi (197448)
      Awful, is not it? What's next — prosecutors siding with the victims?
      • by hedwards (940851)

        Nifong would probably be a more fair analogy. What the copyright holders tend to do these days is spend months defaming the accused and then might bring the matter to trial and win.

        People wouldn't be as worked up if it were just a matter of protecting the work in a reasonable manner. The fact that in so many cases the "protections" go far beyond what is reasonable for protection and into areas that look more like extortion is the main reason people get so angry about it.

        • by mi (197448)

          What the copyright holders tend to do these days is spend months defaming the accused and then might bring the matter to trial and win.

          That's just what the copyright-violators are doing — or are you not reading slashdot?

    • Re:rights owners? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by fishbowl (7759) on Saturday July 12, 2008 @12:41PM (#24164817)

      Because so much of the content on video sites like Youtube is of independent origin, sooner or later the Equal Protection doctrine will become the other edge of the sword. There is a widespread assumption that "production" is strictly a corporate affair, and that the "consumer" never produces anything. This assumption, and litigation based on it, can backfire.

      It will be like winning the lottery when some independent producer has his right to his own material challenged in some ham-handed sweep that assumes all content is pirated. Inidividuals have rights and there can be dire consequences for abridging those rights.

    • The owner of the site makes the rules for using the site.

      Don't like it??? Make your own site and grant unlimited privacy to everyone.

      The site that pulls in the most revenue with the lowest operating margin ... wins!!!!

      • Ignore prior post .. for some reason I thought Viacom owned part of You Tube.

        This is an outrage!!!!! Down with media giants!!!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 12, 2008 @12:06PM (#24164597)

    The one with the gold makes the rules... or rulings in this matter.

  • Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ScrewMaster (602015) on Saturday July 12, 2008 @12:06PM (#24164599)
    What do you mean, "increasingly siding"? Most of this fuss is because of the DMCA, and that was only the latest in a long line of copyright "adjustments" that Congress made in favor if big copyright owners. Congress has been siding with rightsholders for a long time.
    • Re:Huh? (Score:4, Informative)

      by Sen.NullProcPntr (855073) on Saturday July 12, 2008 @12:16PM (#24164663)
      This isn't about Congress and it's not limited to the US.
      From TFA;

      Increasingly, however, the courts are siding with rights owners and ruling that Web sites are responsible for illegal submissions.

      And;

      A French judge ordered eBay to pay Louis Vuitton handbag manufacturer LVMH (LVMH.PA) $61 million in damages. In doing so, the judge rejected eBay's argument that it is not responsible for illegal items sold by users because it provides tools to request removal of infringing goods and takes them down once notified.

      • by peragrin (659227)

        well ebay put themselves there once you start down the path of policing your own system you have to be responsible for it as well.

        ISP need to stay neutral or else they too will become responsible for the content going over their networks. Of course their favorite point of not being neutral is the fact that they might become responsible for said content. thus pushing them further out of reality.

      • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by ScrewMaster (602015) on Saturday July 12, 2008 @01:10PM (#24165029)
        This isn't about Congress and it's not limited to the US.

        From exactly where do you think countries like France are getting their equally bad ideas? The United States has been pushing our skewed ideas of Intellectual Property on most of the civilized world, and that is Congress' fault.
        • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by cpt kangarooski (3773) on Saturday July 12, 2008 @01:54PM (#24165307) Homepage

          Well, where do you think we're getting a lot of our bad ideas? France has long been a source of terrible copyright laws, and the modern method used to push bad copyright laws through the US without serious debate has been to make treaties that Congress feels pressured to comply with by enacting the laws required by the treaty. Again, look to Europe for complicity in this.

          The best thing we could do for ourselves and for others is to drop out of all of the copyright treaties, and just worry about our laws, while letting the rest of the world take care of itself. That's our tradition, and it would be best if we got back to it.

    • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) * on Saturday July 12, 2008 @12:21PM (#24164691) Homepage Journal

      As TFA points out, the DMCA -- as unlikely as this seems -- is actually on the side of the angels in this one. It's a bad law, but one of the few good things it does is provide a measure of immunity to content-hosting sites, as long as those sites comply immediately with takedown requests. Viacom et al., having managed to get pretty much everything they wanted written into the DMCA a while back, are now arguing against the immunity provisions therein. These bastards just never quit.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ScrewMaster (602015)
        As TFA points out, the DMCA -- as unlikely as this seems -- is actually on the side of the angels in this one.

        Not at all. Congress knew what it was doing when it put that provision in there, and knew that it could be used as a method of suppressing, well, pretty much anything. And that kind of abuse is exactly what has been happening. They effectively gave Joe Blow the power to remove anything he doesn't like, and when Joe Blow is a big boy with the power to issue thousands of takedowns regardless of mer
        • The takedown spam is indeed a problem, but it's not the problem in this particular case. I'll say it again: the DMCA sucks, but one of the few ways it mitigates the suckage is by providing a method for content hosting sites to immunize themselves (even if the method itself is pretty crappy.) The problem here is that the MAFIAA wants to take even that measure of protection away.

        • A court order should have been required in order to take anything down.

          The problem with that is that it requires a significant amount of time for Joe Average to obtain such an order, and when we're talking about something like copyright infringement that potentially happens on a large scale in very little time on the Internet, such a delay dramatically reduces the effectiveness of the protections the law affords to copyright holders.

          I look at it this way. It cannot be right to appoint a distribution service judge, jury and executioner in a dispute. However, if the presumption

      • It is just another landgrab on the net. The content-industry is just trying to get back the control and dominance they had in pre-internet times. And in doing so, they discovered that they can even go back to pre-VHS and pre-Cassette tape times and turn the internet into one large corporate controlled money-making machine (which sounds pretty good if you are a stockholder). And so far, they are doing a pretty good job.
      • It's a bad law, but one of the few good things it does is provide a measure of immunity to content-hosting sites, as long as those sites comply immediately with takedown requests.

        This "comply immediately" clause is not good. It necessarily presumes guilt on the part of the host/content poster. There's no due process here, to determine: A) if the takedown request originates from the legitimate copyright holder or a duly appointed agent thereof, B) if the posting is in fact a violation of copyright, and not, say, fair use (an excerpt quoted for criticism, parody, a derivative work, etc).

        No due process here, just take down immediately or you're in violation of the law. Not in MY Co

        • "Innocence" and "guilt" don't really enter into it at the takedown-notice stage; at that point it's just one private individual or organization sending a letter to another private individual or organization. Due process, the presumption of innocence, etc. only become an issue when the matter goes to court. If I think you stole something from me, and I say, "Give it back or I'll press charges," I'm not obligated to consider your due process rights -- that's for the cops to worry about if I call them after

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Cheap +5 Insightful: just say "All Americans suck because {insert generalization here}"

      Okay, I'll bite. All Americans suck because they expect the world to kiss their asses, and when we don't they feel persecuted.
      Now where's my +5 insightful, bitch?

      • My presumption in coming up with that sig was that any +n insightful that resulted wouldn't be completely and irrevocably ignorant.
    • Re:Huh? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by BronsCon (927697) <social@bronstrup.com> on Saturday July 12, 2008 @12:40PM (#24164811) Journal

      I'm a rightsholder. I hold all the rights The Constitution of the United States of America enumerates, in addition to many, many more, which it does not.

      I haven't seen any court rulings in favor of those rights in a while.

  • "rights owners"? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by speedtux (1307149) on Saturday July 12, 2008 @12:12PM (#24164633)

    For user-generated content, the users are the "rights owners". So it's wrong to say that the law is increasingly siding with rights owners.

    What the article is perhaps trying to say is that the law is increasingly (?) siding with big business to keep smaller competitors out of the market.

    Note, however, that the Viacom decision really has nothing to do with that. The Viacom decision is about determining what viewers actually view, and whether big business content is more (or less) popular than other content.

    • Kings and serfs (Score:4, Insightful)

      by StreetStealth (980200) on Saturday July 12, 2008 @12:35PM (#24164785) Journal

      More than that, this is about big business interests always trumping the rights of the individual.

      From Jammie Thomas having to spend the rest of her life in debt for depriving the recording industry of $20 worth of revenue, to the EU's three-strikes-you're-out rule where the mere accusation of copyright violation can result in your ejection from modern society and being forced to live your life decades in the past before consumer internet access, this makes perfect sense. In fact, it's nothing.

      The confidentiality of your viewing records? Your personal privacy? Meaningless as long as it conflicts with Viacom's interests.

    • For user-generated content, the users are the "rights owners".

      It depends on what the content is. If it is content which a user has created on their own, then sure, they're the right owners. If we're talking about a clip (of something that wasn't created by the user) that has been uploaded to youtube or a similar site then no, the user is not the rights owner, but it could be fair use. Just because you upload something to the Internet doesn't mean you own it.

      The Viacom decision is about determining wha

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by nine-times (778537)

      The Viacom decision is about determining what viewers actually view, and whether big business content is more (or less) popular than other content.

      I really see two big problems with the decision. For YouTube users, it's a bit of a violation of privacy. But just as screwed up, IMO, is that it could just be a really sleezy move to get access to Google's records. They got a record of every viewing of every YouTube movie, IIRC with IP addresses and perhaps user names associated. It's a data-miner's dream for marketing purposes, especially for someone running TV networks.

      Do we really trust that Viacom is just going to tally what videos are viewed most

    • by jdunlevy (187745)

      Exactly. And as with the music industry, where the major record labels are increasingly competing against an increasing number of independent, internet-distributed artists, video content created by the major studios is increasingly having to compete against "user-generated" video, primarily (I'd guess) distributed on sites like youtube.

      In essence, the viacom decision hands viacom a huge amount of data that gives them an unfair advantage over their competition. Viacom is handed data on the viewing habits of

  • bad precedent (Score:5, Insightful)

    by v1 (525388) on Saturday July 12, 2008 @12:17PM (#24164675) Homepage Journal

    A French judge ordered eBay to pay Louis Vuitton handbag manufacturer LVMH (LVMH.PA) $61 million in damages. In doing so, the judge rejected eBay's argument that it is not responsible for illegal items sold by users because it provides tools to request removal of infringing goods and takes them down once notified.

    Sounds like eBay was trying to work on the same level as the DMCA crap, where as long as they offer the tools to get things removed (takedown notices) and don't try to police it themselves, it's a bit network-neutralics/safe harbor/etc. Either let it police itself and be held harmless, or police it yourself but don't screw up because you're now responsible.

    Sounds like they want it both ways now? Police it yourself and miss one, lawsuit. Let them police it and issue takedowns, lawsuit. Just lovely. Doesn't leave them with much for options eh? But then I suppose the plaintifs would just suggest "you could always close your business". That's probably their end goal. eBay is bad for business in those markets, and there's no 'fix" for that besides getting rid of eBay.

    Gets us back to the idea that if you have an outdated business model that doesn't work in today's world, you can either adapt, or try to warp the world to operate in a way you can still make a profit the old way. And of course we know what they always seem to pick... hah, silly picture enters my mind, a bunch of dinosaurs gathering wood to start fires, to combat the oncoming ice age.

  • by the author, in response to comments;
    "In the end, this lawsuit is all about money. That's somewhat fair. As Web advertising revenue grows, more companies are likely to want to partner with sites like YouTube than sue to have content removed. Thus, ultimately, the greatest impact of Viacom's lawsuit may be the amount of money Google feels compelled to share with content creators. If Viacom shows much of YouTube's traffic shows up to watch copyrighted content, at least initially, then Viacom may be able to

  • Oh no, the owners (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Henry V .009 (518000) on Saturday July 12, 2008 @12:38PM (#24164805) Journal
    As opposed to siding with the "rights violators?"
    • by aplusjimages (939458) on Saturday July 12, 2008 @12:49PM (#24164873) Journal
      But not everyone on Youtube is a violator, but everyone is being treated like one. Why should those who don't violate copyright laws have their records and data shuffled around to a third party?

      I understand that Viacom is trying to take a stand to protect the future of copyright, but does that mean they have more rights than Youtube users who are abiding the copyright laws?
    • by Adambomb (118938)

      Well, keep in mind there is no "rights violators" label until conviction. Before that they are the innocent-until-proven-guilty defendant. There should be no sides involved in a judge or juries heads, only the facts evidence and law.

      Personally, i think its the laws part thats the problem, not the courts or the rights holders (even if some rights holders are the impetus for these legislations).
      There's serious overhaul work to be done on the US copyright and patent systems, but it'll take a long time for the

    • There are no rights involved here, just temporary monopoly privileges granted by the government.
  • Grossly exaggerated (Score:5, Informative)

    by John Hasler (414242) on Saturday July 12, 2008 @12:42PM (#24164821) Homepage

    > As Viacom is granted access to YouTube user records...

    Viacom has not been granted access to YouTube user records. Experts to be hired by their outside attorneys have. They are under court order not to disclose any user identifying information to any one, including Viacom. They, the lawyers, and Viacom are also under court order not to use any of the information for any purpose other than that specified in the order (which excludes using it to identify people to sue).

    • I see I was not entirely clear. What I mean is that Viacom is excluded from using any of the log data handed over to their lawyers to identify targets for infringement suits.

      A question to think about: what if the court order was exactly the same but the data was being requested by an unemployed single mother defending herself against a copyright infringement suit brought by Viacom? Would you be equally outraged by the irfringement of your privacy?

    • Wish I had mod points today..
      TFA did seem a little behind what has actually happened with Viacom/YouTube, veering on the side of inflammation.

      It is also unaware of the recent rulings on on the legality of mashup web sites, MediaSentry getting into trouble, the FCC vs Comcast case and several others all beginning to properly protect consumer fair user rights and more.

      If anything in the last couple of weeks I've been pleasantly surprised that more and more sensible, rational decisions seem to be being made by

  • by Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) on Saturday July 12, 2008 @12:49PM (#24164871)

    There is nothing more enjoyable than watching cbs tv shows on youtube. I mean i get to sit back in my comfortable couch and squint at my monitor, as i watch a tiny window displaying heavily compressed, often out of sync audio, and let me tell you, there is nothing more enjoyable then having to load up "part2" "part3" "part4" "part5" of the single episode. I find that i completely enjoy watching my CBS tv shows this way, at 5 minute clips at a time... It entertaining and relaxing.... That is until i need to get up to refresh my browser. You see, my keyboard is over at the desk along with the input device known as a mouse. Oh i could buy a wireless keyboard, after all i already have a wireless mouse.... but i enjoy the hell that i call the youtube viewing experience because i know, i can say "FUCK YOU VIACOM"... as i watch the latest stupid fucking reality tv show clip. It makes me feel good to know that i'm sticking it to the man, and ripping him off.

    What would else would they expect me to do? Sit back on my comfortable couch and simply DVR their shitty reality show and watch it on my giant LCD TV as i fast forward through commercials for "Bullshit at eleven" news? Ah you gotta love the remote control. Its not nearly as painful as getting up to use the keyboard and mouse (which is on my desk if you remember). Oh i'm quite sure i will be youtubing today... You can bet your ass on it. Ted Kopple has an incredible 4 part series report on China and our economic relations, and its impact on the economy... and i cant wait to watch it in 5 minute segments on youtube. There must be at least thousands of "parts" that i'll have to watch just to see Ted's year long report. Thats right... Mr Kopple did a year long report on China. None of that 5 minute sound bite bullshit here... Ted actually did some reporting... yes it is possible, even if no one else does it (on TV...) I mean Youtube.

  • by Enleth (947766) <enleth@enleth.com> on Saturday July 12, 2008 @12:52PM (#24164893) Homepage

    Lawsuits, court orders, bazillions of dollars in damages, ruined lifes, bizarre legal actions, etc, etc.

    Sounds like it was about something damn important.

    Well, it's about DAMN ENTERTAINMENT. And it's getting more and more, er, entertaining every day. Or maybe not. What the hell is going on and why no one is able to see the biggest absurdity in there?

    • by nurb432 (527695)

      According to congress, the media industry is the most important industry we have in this country. ( i forget who actually said the words however )

      That statement is sad, no matter how you look at it.

      • My guess would be Orrin Hatch, or maybe Berman or Coble. And given the way these assholes have been treating American manufacturing and industry, when the dust settles the media industry may end up being our only industry. Although, when you get right down to it all the big media conglomerates aren't U.S.-based organizations anyway. They're all foreign-owned, so for these Congressmen to make that claim is more than a little disingenuous.
        • > My guess would be Orrin Hatch, or maybe Berman or Coble.

          Or one of the two senators from Hollywood.

          > They're all foreign-owned...

          It doesn't matter who owns them. It matters where most of their employees are and which celebrities have common interests with them. Celebrity and union endorsements are worth far more than PAC contributions.

      • by Compholio (770966)
        Then do you part to change the industry and stop consuming (or start copying) entertainment "goods".
        • by nurb432 (527695)

          Been doing my part for years.

          I also avoid non US manufactured products, when practical.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by stuckinarut (891702)
      I agree with your sentiment entirely but I think this is really about $$$MONEY$$$
    • Lawsuits, court orders, bazillions of dollars in damages, ruined lifes, bizarre legal actions, etc, etc.

      Sounds like the 'War' on Drugs ...

      Rich.

  • "lawyers with cases in U.S. courts are likely to argue the international precedents should, at least, influence the thinking of American judges faced with their own cases challenging whether takedown rules are sufficient to protect sites against liability."

    And if the international precedents are coming out of China or Muslim countries where some YouTube videos might get you a bullet or beheaded ... that's all we need. US law should be the only influence on decisions.

  • by amper (33785) on Saturday July 12, 2008 @01:10PM (#24165033) Journal

    It seems to me that a default assumption has grown up that purports to demonstrate that protecting the rights of content creators is somehow immoral.

    The laws and the legal system *should* lean toward the side of rights owners, as long as it doesn't go so far as to trample on the rights of the people. After all, in the modern, digital age, the power clearly rests with the public, not the creators, and one job of the law is to be a normative guide.

    Granted, the media conglomerates can, have, and will continue to abuse their positions, but what we need to do here is to challenge the *bad* parts of our current IP jurisprudence and legislation without throwing the baby out with the bath water, so to speak.

    • It seems to me that a default assumption has grown up that purports to demonstrate that protecting the rights of content creators is somehow immoral.

      The rights of copyright owners are to enforce a limited monopoly for a limited period of time for the purpose of advancing the art. One of the ways that the art is advanced is by the works of amateurs. Many, in fact I would suspect most, actors, producers and directors, musicians, and other creators of copyrighted works started out as amateurs.

      The creators of u

  • by Animaether (411575) on Saturday July 12, 2008 @01:12PM (#24165045) Journal

    "As Viacom is granted access to YouTube user records, a bigger threat to user-generated sites emerges: The law is increasingly siding with rights owners."

    The site in this case being YouTube... the site-generation is entirely YouTube's. The user-generated content are the videos, descriptions, tags, comments, etc. Let's limit ourselves to the videos. Viacom and rights holders couldn't give less of a shit about your user-generated content - where that be your laughing baby or your cat saying "hello" or, heck, Star Trek parody. What they care about is the content that isn't user-generated at all - the content that at... worst is just a straight capture of one of their productions uploaded verbatim and at best is things like an MP3 set to a still image or a slideshow. That is not user-generated content no matter which way you want to twist the laws that existed even way before the DMCA.

    The law isn't 'increasingly siding with rights owners', it's increasingly applying pre-existing laws. Just because we've all enjoyed being free from those laws for so long due to inattention from rights holders doesn't mean those laws magically went away. Sucks for us - but then we should get the existing laws changed.

    That said.. Viacom et al blundered when they left the safe harbor provisions in as they are, instead of stipulating that all content that matches the infringing content's description (probably more technically detailed as being done via audio/video recognition algorithms) to be removed and future content being provided to the site being blocked. Then they wouldn't have to go completely overboard and try to find out what percentage of views go to unlicensed content to... to what, anyway? Declare YouTube a 'pirate haven'?

    • by david_thornley (598059) on Saturday July 12, 2008 @01:59PM (#24165339)

      You're right that Viacom doesn't care about user-generated content, and they're perfectly willing to shut down any place that'll host user-generated content. That's the problem here.

      Viacom is, basically, trying to hold YouTube responsible for any videos on it that have Viacom-represented copyrights. What that means, in practice, is that YouTube cannot continue to operate. In a site that permits users to post anything, be it videos, pictures, or text, it is impossible for the site owners to screen everything successfully. Therefore, any site that hosts any user-provided copyrightable material will be sued to oblivion when they slip up.

      The DMCA safe harbor provision, as long as it is enforced, allows sites like YouTube, or, for that matter, website providers, to continue without disastrous legal consequences. Heck, what's Sourceforge supposed to do, if somebody claims some project contains code they copyrighted? Get sued into oblivion, most likely.

      In other words, litigation like this, if successful, will devastate the internet as a source for anything not provided by large corporations.

      The law isn't 'increasingly siding with rights owners', it's increasingly applying pre-existing laws.

      Except for that part of the DMCA that allows sites like YouTube to function. Viacom wants to enforce every law it likes, and ignore every law it doesn't.

      That said.. Viacom et al blundered when they left the safe harbor provisions in as they are,

      Last I looked, Congress had some responsibility for making laws, and Congress put the safe harbor provision in there. It's there, for all the complaining Viacom does, and it does apply to Viacom's materials.

      Seriously, the proper organization to monitor copyright infringement here is Viacom. YouTube presumably doesn't have a complete list of Viacom's copyrights, and can't tell if something from that list was posted legitimately or not.

  • Sign the petition at http://www.petitiononline.com/privacy9/petition.html [petitiononline.com] Btw, this petition is full of interesting comments, go read it! POWER TO THE PEOPLE!
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Toll_Free (1295136)

      Online petitions have a GREAT history of working, don't they?

      --Toll_Free

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by AnonStar3001 (1324601)
        The more things people do, the more this judge and Viacom will see that people don't agree at all with what's going on. Like I said, the comments in this petition are very interesting, some show some points of view that we don't hear a lot here. If you don't sign it, at least read it.
  • Not surprising... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Registered Coward v2 (447531) on Saturday July 12, 2008 @01:58PM (#24165335)

    Sites that aggregate user supplied material may find that they are held to a higher standard of care simply because of their business model. It should have become apparent that some percentage of users upload copyrighted material and that it is done on a routine basis; so to try to hide behind safe harbor provisions is disingenuous.

    Specifically, the DMCA provides safe harbor if, among other things, the OSP:

    # not be aware of facts or circumstances from which infringing activity is apparent (512(c)(1)(A)(2)).

    Given the nature of many files and having received takedown notices the companies should be aware that such activity occurs and have ways to recognize that it is occurring; for example filenames of popular TV shows or sports clips.

    # not receive a financial benefit directly attributable to the infringing activity, in a case in which the service provider has the right and ability to control such activity

    Given that they get significant ad revenue from the site; and that it depends on material people want to see, I'd say it is not a stretch to say they are profiting from the infringement.

    For them to claim that they are innocent is a bit of a stretch. They need to work out an agreement with copyright owners to stay in business; can you say revenue sharing?

  • There seemed to be some misunderstanding so:
    According to http://www.cjr.org/resources/ [cjr.org]
    Viacom ownes:
    Cable
    MTV
    MTV2
    mtvU
    Nickelodeon
    BET
    Nick at Nite
    TV Land
    NOGGIN
    VH1
    Spike TV
    CMT

  • I predict a victory for youtube in this circuit court, and an appeal to the USSC, where the same activist judges who passed the "induce act" via court ruling will kill youtube 8-1.

    After this, hollywood will quickly swoop in like those dragons from reign of fire, reducing pretty much the entire internet as we know it to fine ash.

    Thanks to the new innovation of gaming the system via "outrage politics", the governments of the western world will simply cover it up by immediately acting even more egregiously in

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