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Google Slams Viacom For Secret YouTube Uploads 307

Posted by timothy
from the when-back-channels-collide dept.
An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from Reuters: "Google, Inc. accused Viacom, Inc. of secretly uploading its videos to YouTube even as the media conglomerate publicly denounced the online video site for copyright infringement, according to court documents made public on Thursday." As "statements from the corporate counsel's office" go, this post on the YouTube blog is pretty hot reading.
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Google Slams Viacom For Secret YouTube Uploads

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  • Wow. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 18, 2010 @04:14PM (#31528982)

    Google has become quite outspoken. I guess they are big enough that they do not have to scratch anyone's back anymore. I like this approach - Google has the power to change people's perceptions of companies (and countries) seeing as how they do control a large chunk of the flow of information on the Internet.

  • Re:Viacom - the verb (Score:5, Interesting)

    by c++0xFF (1758032) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @04:52PM (#31529596)

    I think it's worse than that:

    For years, Viacom continuously and secretly uploaded its content to YouTube, even while publicly complaining about its presence there. It hired no fewer than 18 different marketing agencies to upload its content to the site. It deliberately "roughed up" the videos to make them look stolen or leaked. It opened YouTube accounts using phony email addresses. It even sent employees to Kinko's to upload clips from computers that couldn't be traced to Viacom.

    It seems that Viacom purposefully uploaded these files to invalidate the whole concept of YouTube. "See how much of our stuff is uploaded! They can't filter it out! They have to be shut down!"

    It's almost like dumping a much of random nails in the street and then suing the government for not cleaning the streets properly.

    This article is definitely worth reading.

  • Re:Viacom - the verb (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 18, 2010 @05:21PM (#31529980)

    It seems that Viacom purposefully uploaded these files to invalidate the whole concept of YouTube. "See how much of our stuff is uploaded! They can't filter it out! They have to be shut down!"

    Nope. Viacom realized the value of marketing their shows on youtube, which HELPS VIACOM MAKE MONEY. By having lots of people uploading clips of their favorite shows, it boosts the popularity & coolness of the show.

    Since this was a secret astroturf [wikipedia.org] project, Viacom had to have their regular DMCA people prowl youtube to remove the clips.

    This is not unlike payola, where a record label pays a radio station to promote sales of music. Except without the payment. Maybe I need a car analogy...

  • by Todd Knarr (15451) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @05:29PM (#31530068) Homepage

    If Viacom were just retracting their requests, Google's lawyers wouldn't be making the statement they did. It'd have to be one of Viacom's people writing Google saying "Hey, what happened to the videos we uploaded? The page says it was taken down because of a DMCA complaint.". And Google going "Oh reeeeeeally. That's odd, the DMCA complaint was from Viacom too. Left hand and right hand not talking much?". Followed by Google's lawyers getting together with Google's engineers to do a little data mining.

  • Re:Wow. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by RobotRunAmok (595286) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @05:39PM (#31530188)

    Who would you rather have controlling a large chunk of the flow of information on the internet, Google, or Viacom?

    Tough Choice.

    I don't trust Google.

    Viacom wants to make money and protect its IP.

    I'm not sure what Google wants...

  • by bmo (77928) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @05:47PM (#31530260)

    Off Topic, but whatever. If a mod wants to waste his points on this post, go right ahead. I maxed out on karma a decade ago.

    English 101 doesn't teach you how to write.

    I have never ever had an English class where I was taught how to write. It was always by the seat of my pants. All writing in high school was geared at writing the "term paper" resulting in my complete inability to write anything but the most boring, stultifying, coma-inducing drek on the planet. Indeed, we were taught something called the "term paper method." The only thing this taught me is that I could never have an original opinion unless I could cite someone else saying it, parrot it, and leave a listing in the bibliography.

    This left me literate but crippled.

    None of it was geared to how I could express myself. I had to be out of school for 5 years for that to happen; writing every day in the Marquis De Sade school of writing known as BBS networks (Fight-O-Net) hanging out in the debate oriented message bases. I can also credit the local BBSes that had things like "The Never Ending Story."

    When I did eventually go back to school, I took College Writing and found all I had to do was defenstrate some bad habits to get an A on a paper. Thanks Fidonet!

    --
    BMO

  • by QuoteMstr (55051) <dan.colascione@gmail.com> on Thursday March 18, 2010 @05:50PM (#31530302)

    The old saying goes, "never get into argument with someone who buys ink by the barrel."

    Maybe we should update it to say: never get into an argument with someone who writes programs that run on whole data centers.

  • Re:Wow. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by einhverfr (238914) <chris@travers.gmail@com> on Thursday March 18, 2010 @06:00PM (#31530402) Homepage Journal

    I would rather see the market decentralize.

  • Re:Wow. (Score:1, Interesting)

    by ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) <obsessivemathsfreak@ei r c o m .net> on Thursday March 18, 2010 @07:15PM (#31531098) Homepage Journal

    like this approach - Google has the power to change people's perceptions of companies (and countries) ...

    All without so much as a speck of substantiating evidence. I'd especially like to hear how they plan to prove Viacom was sending employees to Kinko's to upload videos.

    This turns my stomach on all counts. Google is attempting to force the courts hand by making this public, relying on the court of public opinion to win the case for them. Moreover, if these charges are indeed true, it is a testament to:

    a) Just how much information and the ability to process it Google has and more importantly
    b) how willing Google is to use this information to its own advantage when neccessary.

    Knowladge is power, and power corrupts. Viacom's fate is but a taste of what awaits anyone who dares to cross Google in future. If Google decides to win a case against you in the court of public opinion, just think of how much rope you've already given them to hang you with.

  • I think Google's figured out that for a company where information is it's primary commodity (and trading in such), that the free flow of information is in its best interest. Basically the gains they'd make over taking ownership of data the hold would cost them too many of their own customer base. Being trusted, basically, is good for their business model.
    As long as that's remembered, Google's movements are actually pretty predictable.

    I don't see what Viacom has to gain over this, long term.
  • by Albatrosses (1712146) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @07:37PM (#31531308)
    This!

    This summarizes everything I hate about reading the newspaper - at least in my hometown (Calgary). There's no actual information in a newspaper article anymore. It's just endless paragraphs starting with "How did you feel when your neighbors house exploded?" "Well, slightly singed at first, but now I'm sad. It was a pretty house". That's the most important fact you could find about the story? Don't mention that it was a meth lab, or condemned, or that the house was full of big red explosive barrels - nope, it's the rushed (and edited) opinion of a neighbor.


    The only thing worse is the televised news' reinterpretation of this trope. The interviewer goes out, finds someone with no prior knowledge of events in question, and then interviews them. It usually goes something like this:

    Reporter: Have you heard about your neighbor's house exploding?
    Neighbor: My neighbor's house exploded!?
    Reporter: How does your neighbor's house exploding make you feel?
    Neighbor: OH GOD MY NEIGHBOR'S HOUSE EXPLODED!
    [ cut back to stock footage ]
    Reporter: Clearly blaming the fire department for their poor response times, neighbors are trying to rebuild. Back to you, (anchor name)
  • by bmo (77928) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @07:38PM (#31531314)

    That was brilliant.

    By the time I got to the end, I began twitching.

    Somebody help me.

    --
    BMO

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 18, 2010 @08:01PM (#31531516)

    In the UK we have something called "conspiracy to pervert the course of justice". Those convicted of it tend to go to prison for a very long time as the courts have a sense of humour failure about it.

  • by Midnight Thunder (17205) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @08:29PM (#31531714) Homepage Journal

    If these allegations are true, it is the very definition of unclean hands...

    Sounds like typical marketing/advertising companies. Apparently they do this all the time with the TV stations, trying to find any reason not to pay for the commercial, even though it was aired.

  • Re:Wow. (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 18, 2010 @08:37PM (#31531776)

    You're joking, right? You do realize that this is the result of discovery in the lawsuit, don't you? The proof is there, and I'm sure they'll be more than willing to provide it in court.

  • Re:Wow. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by shentino (1139071) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @09:24PM (#31532068)

    Filing phony DMCA requests among other things should give Youtube grounds to recover damages just for the expense of putting up with their legal bullshit.

  • Re:Wow. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by negRo_slim (636783) <mils_oRgen@hotmail.com> on Thursday March 18, 2010 @10:00PM (#31532330)

    I don't trust Google.

    Exactly, once the current leadership is out it's anyones guess.

  • Re:Wow. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Nikker (749551) on Friday March 19, 2010 @06:55AM (#31534696)
    These types of comments are like, "I would much rather have that guy kick me in the nuts he seems much cooler". When Google got into the race I was cheering for them because I didn't like Microsoft. Then I liked Google because I didn't like Apple. After all of this I just realized I didn't really like Google but I just hated everyone else. Google is not your friend they are a business and will continue to be this way (especially since Sergy and Larry sold enough of their voting stock). Now when Google does something "questionably evil" it's not Sergy and Larry but the share holders and share holders get to sit by one the sidelines and get none of the flack.

    Repeat after me, "This is not high school anymore, this is real life, real companies want to make real money, real companies will do what ever they have to to make said money"

    Google is up against companies like Microsoft and most advertising firms, do you really think just because Google has fanboys these companies will make it easy on them? These companies are big enough to make Google make tough choices and some of those choices will definitely be "evil", just wait for the honeymoon to be over.

    As a consumer all we can do is demand what we want and realize we are the ones holding the proverbial worm on the hook, don't be fanboys and apologists. The less you care about the flowery shit the more in control you will be.
  • Re:Wow. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by hey! (33014) on Friday March 19, 2010 @08:15AM (#31535412) Homepage Journal

    What's funny is that the Viacom employees engaging in this amateur cloak-and-dagger stuff apparently thought Google* wouldn't be able to piece together the evidence. What were they thinking?

  • by metlin (258108) on Friday March 19, 2010 @02:17PM (#31542294) Journal

    I don't necessarily think that writing complex sentences (or using long winded words) is a bad thing. If anything, the push for shorter sentences and easier words (with "flexible" spelling) probably encourages poor language and lowers the bar for everyone.

    You should read Joseph Schumpeter -- his writing is complex, and you'd often take a good five minutes to read just one paragraph (his Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy is particularly beastly). But so much was conveyed so well in his one paragraph that you'd come away admiring his writing. The same goes for Amartya Sen, Orhan Pamuk, and many other fantastic writers of our time.

    I feel that excessive emphasis on simplicity is often at the expense of elegance. Pithiness is wonderful, but it is quite overrated since not everyone is Saki.

What this country needs is a dime that will buy a good five-cent bagel.

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