NBC sides with Viacom in suit against YouTube
Business and Law Features

NBC sides with Viacom in suit against YouTube

Los Angeles (CA) - NBC Universal and Viacom have filed a friends-of-the-court brief in support of a pending lawsuit against Google’s YouTube, which is expected to come to a close soon and may have critical impact on all future piracy lawsuits against YouTube.

The “amicus” brief filed by Viacom and NBC Universal addresses claims made by journalist Robert Tur, who filed suit against YouTube last summer as his footage of the 1992 L.A. riots apparently was posted repeatedly on the site.

"Many of NBCU's most valuable copyrighted works have been copied, performed, and disseminated without authorization by YouTube and other similarly operated Websites,” the brief states. “NBCU has a strong interest in preserving the strength and viability of all of its legal rights and remedies in response to such conduct."

While Google has not responded to the brief officially, some industry watchers do not think the filing comes as a surprise: “Since the Tur suit is the farthest along (we're just waiting for the court's decision on summary judgment) and deals with the central question of whether YouTube complies with the DMCA, the outcome of the case will influence what happens with Viacom and the Premier League,” writes Nick Daly on the Google Copyright Blog.

Daly argues that if YouTube is found qualify for DMCA safeharbor protection in the Tur case, then there may be roadblocks in there own proceedings. Suddenly, it may be difficult to prove that YouTube isn’t covered by these terms. In fact, Daly believes that this is the reason why Viacom and NBC did not even mention the phrase “DMCA” in their brief.

Instead, the brief describes that YouTube plays an active role in violating copyright laws and offering pirated content:   "YouTube actively manipulates and modifies the content in ways that the uploading user clearly does not, including copying, reformatting, and adapting the works (...) further disseminating them." The brief continues: "In operating its own commercial Website, YouTube engages in activities that are reserved to the copyright holder."

NBC Universal is rumored to be preparing a suit against YouTube. Viacom filed a $1 billion suit against the website on March 22.