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Google Privacy The Courts Youtube Your Rights Online

YouTube Granted Safe Harbor From Viacom 107

eldavojohn writes "It's an old case, but there was an interesting development today when a judge ruled that YouTube is protected from Viacom by the safe harbor provisions of the DMCA, since YouTube helps rights owners manage their rights online and works cooperatively with entities like Viacom. Google's calling it a victory, but I'm not sure if Viacom will take this without a fight."
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YouTube Granted Safe Harbor From Viacom

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  • Re:About time (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MozeeToby ( 1163751 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @05:43PM (#32671260)

    Or better yet, stop trying to sue your potential customers and instead offer a cheap, high quality, DRM free, and above all legal download option and actually make money off of it instead of losing money in litigation costs. Personally, I very rarely download things that I can legally acquire some other way, but if there was an option for unlimited downloads of the things I watch for a fair (think ~$5 per month) cost I'd jump all over that and kiss my cable subscription goodbye.

  • Good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Adrian Lopez ( 2615 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @05:47PM (#32671316) Homepage

    Not only should YouTube not be liable for what its users choose to post online, YouTube shouldn't even have to provide copyright holders with any special tools for handling infringing content.

    If we as citizens are required to live with the DMCA's restrictions, it is only fair that courts give Viacom no special treatment either. Google's only responsibility is to take down infringing content when properly requested to do so by copyright holders. As long as it continues to do that according to the terms of the DMCA, YouTube should not be expected to do anything more. Viacom should consider itself lucky that YouTube goes beyond the DMCA's requirements and provides them tools such as content detection and a streamlined process for getting rid of allegedly infringing content -- they are not entitled to any of that under the law.

  • Re:About time (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @05:48PM (#32671336)

    The word potential was in there.

    Yes, youtube is a potential customer.

  • by interkin3tic ( 1469267 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @05:50PM (#32671352)

    I can't understand most of the PDF posted there, anything in there about how Viacom uploaded their own material so they could bust youtube for it? It would be nice if that bit of douchebaggery came back to screw them over, though I expect that's too much to ask from justice.

  • Re:About time (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @05:53PM (#32671386)
    Actually, YouTube's 720p and 1080p videos are excellent quality. I'd still download a 1080p Blu-ray rip of a movie I wanted, but to generalize by saying YouTube is crappy quality isn't correct. There IS a lot of crap, but there's a lot of very nice looking stuff as well.

    As for YouTube comments.... I got nothin'. They're horrible.
  • Re:Not Sure? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mwvdlee ( 775178 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @05:54PM (#32671400) Homepage

    Seems like Viacom would prefer to have the power to force companies to do it's dirty work AND sue them afterwards.

  • Re:Not Sure? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AnEducatedNegro ( 1372687 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @05:54PM (#32671402)
  • Re:About time (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @06:25PM (#32671616) Homepage

    if there was an option for unlimited downloads of the things I watch for a fair (think ~$5 per month) cost I'd jump all over that and kiss my cable subscription goodbye.

    So you pay for cable. On top of that they make money on cable ads, that'd quickly be removed from such a service. On top of that you probably pay for some DVD box sets of TV shows. Possibly a DVR subscription on top. I bet that totals up to more than $5/month, particularly the money not coming out of your pocket but the advertisers. You know what I hear as a corporation? "Blah blah blah blah please sell your products for 10% of the money you make today blah blah blah". I guess you can always ask, but if you want it to save a lot of money and make them lose a lot of money I'm not surprised they're unenthusiastic.

    For me the selling points are convenience, simultaneous worldwide release, maximum quality and freedom to watch it under any OS, on any hardware from anywhere on my own schedule for all time. I don't expect them to go for anything that's less profitable than what they have today, they're a corporation and per definition is profit-seeking. It's not going to be like I don't watch 80%, so my bill would get cut 80%. They know you won't watch everything and that's priced in, if they split it up they'd have to raise prices on each item to have the same income. It's the same as with the people that started when iTunes went up, for 10 cents/song they'd buy but not a dollar as if 90%+ of the cost was printing the CD.

  • Re:Not Sure? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dgatwood ( 11270 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @06:31PM (#32671664) Homepage Journal

    What I'd like to see is for Google to grow some cojones when it comes to dealing with the big media conglomerates. The second Viacom tried to sue to get YouTube's safe harbor status taken away, Google should have immediately:

    • blocked Viacom's corporate IP range from access to all Google services, including search.
    • removed all Viacom properties from Google's search index, including their TV networks' pages.
    • mass-scrubbed all pages from third-party sites that reference Viacom properties (e.g. TV.com pages about shows on Nickelodeon).
    • sat back and waited for Viacom to stop being morons.
  • Re:Good (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Bryan3000000 ( 1356999 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @06:37PM (#32671722)
    Really? Google directly profits from YouTube (at least, that's the business idea). Citizens don't, at least not commercially. I think it makes perfect sense to have Google responsible in some way, and I think this safe harbor provision makes perfect sense, if we're talking about commercial activity. When we're talking about non-commercial activity, none of it makes sense. But remember, if it's YouTube, it definitely IS commercial activity for Google, even if the users are not engaging in commercial activity.

    If someone wants to run their own (non-commercial) servers and put stuff up (only personally - not providing other users the ability to do so), then I think we're in a different arena as far as copyright. That's when it's arguable that provisions like fair use and the free culture ideals should start to apply. Just so long as there are no commercial activities run alongside - as in ads placed on the page, or any other commercial type of activity.

    The problem is that when it comes to the internet, people are still thinking that we're in the early days of the net where universities (non-profit educational, not commercial) hosted most sites, and there were no advertisements or other commercial activity. Now, the internet is almost purely commercial. In fact, even if it's a personal, non-commercial site - if it's hosted in a commercial facility, there's a pretty good argument that it has commercial activity associated with it. Someone is profiting, even if it's only for bandwidth.

    Bye-bye cultural phenomenon of the net. We deeply and sincerely miss you. Well, at least we miss the possibilities you held.
  • by e4g4 ( 533831 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @06:41PM (#32671754)
    Being anti-RIAA does not imply being anti-IP. I'm the same way - I want my software protected by copyright, but I'm not going to be a dick about it and sue a technologically illiterate grandmother for orders of magnitude more than the offense is really worth if I think there's a *chance* she got a copy of my software illegally. Besides, why are you being so hard on Mr. Beckerman? At least he contributes meaningfully to the discussion (unlike your little rant here (and my response to it, for that matter)).
  • Re:Not Sure? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dragoniz3r ( 992309 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @06:52PM (#32671832)
    And subsequently lose potential searchers to Bing or Yahoo because they couldn't find what the wanted to find on Google? Uhhhhh, let's just stick with items #1 and #4.
  • by Trepidity ( 597 ) <delirium-slashdot@NOsPam.hackish.org> on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @06:57PM (#32671860)

    Veoh won some of the first strong precedents in this area, and the current case cites its cases prominently (see pp. 24-27). The cost of the litigation sent them into bankruptcy [wired.com] soon after winning, though.

    Unfortunately for the plaintiffs, this time they seem to have picked an opponent who is very hard to beat in a war of attrition.

  • Re:About time (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Alphathon ( 1634555 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @08:36PM (#32672658)

    When I click on "HD", the window stays the same size. So how is that HD?

    What do you mean the window size? If you mean the box on the page, it shouldn't stay the same size.

    It seems to me all the 720p button does is upgrade the compression.

    In a lot of cases it does seem that way; that is not YouTube's fault though. A lot of cameras that will save in HD resolutions don't have HD sensors so use interpolation and various tricks to increase the res. Even those that do have HD sensors often don't look HD due to poor focusing etc. I'm also pretty sure some people who capture in SD upscale before uploading. I have seen some really good HD uploads onto YouTube, be it in 1080p or 720p, but most of them, as you say look little different than 480p (or sometimes even 360p)

  • Re:About time (Score:4, Insightful)

    by zenasprime ( 207132 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @09:42PM (#32673068) Homepage

    The viewer is NOT the customer. The Advertisers are the customer. You are just an inconvient reality of their business model. ;)

  • Re:Not Sure? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Guppy ( 12314 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @11:59PM (#32673580)

    What I'd like to see is for Google to grow some cojones when it comes to dealing with the big media conglomerates.

    I respectfully disagree with the listed tactical options, however. "Don't be evil" is a main reason that Google gets a pass on its dominance in the search market and online advertising space. A refusal to use its market power to punish adversaries is part of that -- it is an essential part of what makes the difference between a legal and illegal monopoly.

  • by Mathinker ( 909784 ) * on Thursday June 24, 2010 @06:03AM (#32675522) Journal

    The case was about the inventers of youtube purposefully uploading copyrighted content to boost its user-rate to get offers to sell. It also stated that Google knew what was going on when they bought it. Not just that "oh Joe in Jersey uploaded clips of Thundercats."

    You forgot the part where Viacom saw YouTube was the "hot" marketing thing and started uploading its own content there disguised as pirated media. And then they often couldn't figure out they had authorized the material and sent Google a DMCA takedown for their own uploads.

    There are two sides to this case. I'm waiting for the discovery evidence of Viacom's behavior to become part of the pleading in a private infringement case:

    "But Judge, we've seen in Viacom vs. YouTube that Big Media upload their own content disguised as pirated stuff --- I just assumed that [random torrent] was such a disguised authorized distribution!"

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 24, 2010 @10:03AM (#32677240)

    That's not because of the DMCA, but to avoid licensing cost for video codecs (h.264) AFAIK.

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