It's a major victory for Google today, and for Internet users all around, as a federal judge today said that the online giant never broke the law by allowing people to post copyrighted Viacom content on Youtube. It puts a big stamp of failure on Viacom's years-long effort to bring down Google after it acquired the massive video-sharing site. However, it is not the end of the war.
Viacom has said it will continue on and appeal the case. Viacom has tried to paint Youtube founders and Google executives as greedy people trying to earn a quick buck by skirting around federal copyright law.
With Viacom owning properties like Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, and MTV, it has easily become one of the hottest targets for video piracy.
However, the Digital Millenium Copyright Act of 1998 basically states that anyone can publish any kind of copyrighted content on the Internet without any sort of permission. However, if the copyright owner requests that it be removed, then the Web site is subject to copyright infringement laws. Until then, the site is immune.
US District Judge Louis Stanton said today that Google did fully comply with the law by removing copyrighted content at Viacom's request. Google has even put in tools to actively forbid copyrighted content from being posted in the first place.
Stanton said in his ruling that "when YouTube was given the (takedown) notices, it removed the material," and dismissed the case without even going into a full trial.
Viacom said it is looking forward to bringing its case to an appeals court.