Legal Updates

Intellectual Property Law – Viacom Sues Google – Copyright Infringement – YouTube

Google (the parent company of YouTube) has been sued by Viacom for US$1 billion in connection with YouTube. Although the case was filed back in 2007, in this latest version of the case, Viacom argues that YouTube constantly allows copyrighted material to be posted on its site, including material from cable channels owned by Viacom, such as MTV and Comedy Central.

Google has argued that this lawsuit "threatens the way hundreds of millions of people legitimately exchange information, news, entertainment and political and artistic expression".

Viacom claims that more than 150,000 clips found on YouTube were not permitted, and nothing has been done to stop this alleged breach of copyright.

Google position is that YouTube has a responsibility for protecting owner's content and is compliant under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act 1998.

Viacom's Executive Chairman Sumner Redstone said; "When we filed our lawsuit, we not only served our own interests, we served the interests of everyone who owns copyrights that they want protected... We cannot tolerate any form of piracy by anyone, including YouTube... they cannot get away with stealing our products".

Google has indicated that they intend to fight the claims made by Viacom.

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© RT COOPERS, 2008. This Briefing Note does not provide a comprehensive or complete statement of the law relating to the issues discussed nor does it constitute legal advice. It is intended only to highlight general issues. Specialist legal advice should always be sought in relation to particular circumstances.


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