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Viacom V. YouTUbe The controversy: a history and its implications By Elizabeth Shelby
Who is Viacom? ,[object Object]
 Also owns Paramount Motion Pictures
Producer of popular original shows like The Colbert Report, The Daily Show, SpongeBob SquarePants, among others,[object Object]
What’s Going On ,[object Object]
Viacom seeks statutory damages for ea. infringement or $1 billion in actual damages,[object Object]
Viacom Claims YouTube: Hosts more than 150,000 unauthorized Viacom-owned clips, which have been viewed more than 1.5 billion times Publicly performs infringing videos Puts the huge responsibility and cost of monitoring an infinite amount of clips for infringement on the copyright owner (Viacom) Usurps Viacom’s “exclusive right to reproduce” Profits directly from Viacom’s protected material (“The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” “The Colbert Report,” “South Park”)
“Plaintiffs have the distinct, severable, and exclusive rights to, among other things, reproduce, publicly perform, and publicly display their copyrighted works” 17 U.S.C. Section 106 (1), (4), (5)
Examples of alleged infringement
Thumbnails(Public Display)
Streaming and Embedding(Public Performance)
Filtering and Finding Porn Business Partners Viacom must employ over 30 full-time staffers to scour YouTube for infringements manually Inevitable time lags “Friends” No more than 1,000 video search results
Claims for Relief Count 1: Public Performance (Streaming and embedding) Count 2: Public Display (Thumbnails) Count 3: Reproduction (Unauthorized copies) Count 4: Inducement of Copyright Infringement  (Usurping content owner’s Rights) Count 5: Contributory Copyright Infringement (Actual and Constructive Knowledge) Count 6: Vicarious Infringement (Not allowing filtering)
Google’s Defense (filed 4/30/07) Among others, Google’s main defense is that it is protected by the DMCA Safe Harbors (or section 512)
DIGITAL MILLENIUM COPYRIGHT ACT SECTION 512
1998 “Safe Harbor” provides a limitation of liability of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) Transitory Digital Communications (Conduit Liability)- transmitting, routing, providing connections Caching- intermediate and temporary storage Web Hosting- making space available on your server for someone else to post things ** Information Location Tools (search engines)
Subsection C- “Web Hosting” An ISP… (i) must not have actual knowledge (ii) ...is not aware of facts or circumstances about infringing activity (iii) upon obtaining awareness, acts expeditiously to remove, or disable access to, material Cannot receive financial benefit directly attributable to infringing activity  Responds expeditiously to remove infringing material
Debate Google: 512 puts the obligation to spot infringement directly on the content owner Google only has an affirmative duty to respond to takedowns Unclean Hands Doctrine Viacom: Burdensome & expensive Millions of files, Viacom employs 30 full-time staffers There is too much owned content to go through manually What about the other 300 file hosting sites?
YouTube’s Smoking Gun In October 2009 evidence emerged that (allegedly): A) YouTube employees were among those uploading Viacom’s material B) Through internal emails, YouTube managers acknowledged their awareness of Viacom’s material on the site but intentionally chose not to remove it If found to be true, this will effectively dismiss YouTube’s defense that it (i) had no actual knowledge, (ii) was not aware of infringing activity, (iii) always acted expeditiously to remove infringing material Financial benefit?

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Viacom v. YouTube

  • 1. Viacom V. YouTUbe The controversy: a history and its implications By Elizabeth Shelby
  • 2.
  • 3. Also owns Paramount Motion Pictures
  • 4.
  • 5.
  • 6.
  • 7. Viacom Claims YouTube: Hosts more than 150,000 unauthorized Viacom-owned clips, which have been viewed more than 1.5 billion times Publicly performs infringing videos Puts the huge responsibility and cost of monitoring an infinite amount of clips for infringement on the copyright owner (Viacom) Usurps Viacom’s “exclusive right to reproduce” Profits directly from Viacom’s protected material (“The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” “The Colbert Report,” “South Park”)
  • 8. “Plaintiffs have the distinct, severable, and exclusive rights to, among other things, reproduce, publicly perform, and publicly display their copyrighted works” 17 U.S.C. Section 106 (1), (4), (5)
  • 9. Examples of alleged infringement
  • 12.
  • 13.
  • 14.
  • 15. Filtering and Finding Porn Business Partners Viacom must employ over 30 full-time staffers to scour YouTube for infringements manually Inevitable time lags “Friends” No more than 1,000 video search results
  • 16. Claims for Relief Count 1: Public Performance (Streaming and embedding) Count 2: Public Display (Thumbnails) Count 3: Reproduction (Unauthorized copies) Count 4: Inducement of Copyright Infringement (Usurping content owner’s Rights) Count 5: Contributory Copyright Infringement (Actual and Constructive Knowledge) Count 6: Vicarious Infringement (Not allowing filtering)
  • 17. Google’s Defense (filed 4/30/07) Among others, Google’s main defense is that it is protected by the DMCA Safe Harbors (or section 512)
  • 18. DIGITAL MILLENIUM COPYRIGHT ACT SECTION 512
  • 19. 1998 “Safe Harbor” provides a limitation of liability of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) Transitory Digital Communications (Conduit Liability)- transmitting, routing, providing connections Caching- intermediate and temporary storage Web Hosting- making space available on your server for someone else to post things ** Information Location Tools (search engines)
  • 20. Subsection C- “Web Hosting” An ISP… (i) must not have actual knowledge (ii) ...is not aware of facts or circumstances about infringing activity (iii) upon obtaining awareness, acts expeditiously to remove, or disable access to, material Cannot receive financial benefit directly attributable to infringing activity Responds expeditiously to remove infringing material
  • 21. Debate Google: 512 puts the obligation to spot infringement directly on the content owner Google only has an affirmative duty to respond to takedowns Unclean Hands Doctrine Viacom: Burdensome & expensive Millions of files, Viacom employs 30 full-time staffers There is too much owned content to go through manually What about the other 300 file hosting sites?
  • 22. YouTube’s Smoking Gun In October 2009 evidence emerged that (allegedly): A) YouTube employees were among those uploading Viacom’s material B) Through internal emails, YouTube managers acknowledged their awareness of Viacom’s material on the site but intentionally chose not to remove it If found to be true, this will effectively dismiss YouTube’s defense that it (i) had no actual knowledge, (ii) was not aware of infringing activity, (iii) always acted expeditiously to remove infringing material Financial benefit?
  • 23. Questions/Implications Should there be different exceptions for different numbers of owned works? (Viacom’s # vs. Elizabeth Shelby’s #) Did Congress anticipate this problem? Control: An ISP must have a takedown and repeat infringer policy If you have too much control, though, you may fall out of Safe Harbor

Editor's Notes

  1. YouTube WILL removed infrinigns works only after obtaining a license from copyright holdersAdditionally, YouTube will grant filtering technology to business partners who grant licenses, but not to companies who decline giving licenses.Exlusive right to reproduce- Viacom does sell and host its content through authroized venues like its own websites, iTunesYouTube receives financial benefits directly attributable to the infrining activity by displaying banner advertising to users whenever they log on to, to search for, and view infringing videosYouTube KNOWS people want to watch these shows, and they often show up in their “most viewed” lists. They can’t not be aware.
  2. US Copyright Act of 1976
  3. YouTube creates the thumbnails, which are indiviudla frames from videos in its libryra –including infringing videos- for the purpose of helping users find what they are searching for. PUBLIC DISPLAY
  4. YouTube then publicly performs the chosen video by sending streaming video content from YouTube’s servers to the user’s computer.Embedding- the video will appear on a new website as a television-shaped pictures with the YouTube logo prominently displayed.
  5. Direct profit
  6. Direct profit
  7. PORN- YouTube proactively removes porn based on user flagging and reviewBUSINESS PARTNERS- YouTube will use filtering technologies for business aprtners that grant licenses to YouTube, not will withhold those technologies to those who do not offer licenses.TIME LAGS- Time diff between a vid is posted and when it is avaiable for search to send a takedown notice“FRIENDS”- Allows users to make uploaded vids private to only their friends, making it impossible to find1,000- YouTube claims this is for searching ease sake for users, but only 1,000 clips will show up, even if there are 5,000 results, making it impossible for a copyright owner to even see all their infringed clips
  8. COUNT 5- “Actual and Constructive Knowledge”- aware but don’t remove 512: “
  9. “Actual knowledge”- simply knowing infringement is going on is not enough to incriminate. Must have specific examples.“Financial Benefit”- constitues a draw. Viacom argues it does- go to the site to watch Colbert, end up staying on to watch other thing
  10. Unclean Hands- If there is any history of Viacom infringing, their argument goes out the window.
  11. Financial benefit- YouTube employees could’ve been told to upload to get more hits
  12. Control- YouTube does, but Viacom argues it’s not enough. Users can create new names.