A very bitter Viacom says Youtube verdict was "flawed"

Posted by Mike Luttrell

Viacom, otherwise known as the corporate crybaby that hates Youtube more than anyone else, has officially filed the motion for appealing a landmark ruling against Youtube in which it was shut down of its hopes to bilk $1 billion from the video sharing site.

The legal dispute between Viacom and Youtube goes back to even before Google purchased the online video giant in 2006. At issue is whether or not Youtube, and now Google, are in violation of the law by allowing users to upload videos of its copyrighted content.

In June, a judge threw out the lawsuit, saying that Google not only followed the law, in some cases it even went beyond a reasonable call of duty. The judge focused on the exceedingly-outdated Digital Millenium Copyright Act of 1998, which says anyone who posts copyrighted content online is completely immune from legal action until the copyright owner files a format complaint. Once that happens, though, the media must be taken down immediately.

"When Viacom over a period of months accumulated some 100,000 videos and then sent one mass take-down notice on February 2, 2007, by the next business day YouTube had removed virtually all of them," said the judge when it dismissed the trial.

However, Viacom issued a statement saying, "We believe this ruling by the lower court is fundamentally flawed. After years of delay, this decision gives us the opportunity to have the Appellate Court address these issues on an accelerated basis."

Viacom's issue is that Google knew that copyrighted content was being posted and did nothing about it. In return, it was able to profit off of the millions of people who went to Youtube specifically seeking out videos from The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, MTV, and other Viacom properties that were indeed very popular draws to Youtube.

Viacom may be hoping to go all the way to the Supreme Court with the case, as the 1998 statute is admittedly quite outdated. As the law stands now, it's very difficult for Viacom to show that Google did anything that was actually illegal, but with the new era of user-driven websites, it may be time for the highest court to reevaluate this issue.