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Viacom vs. Youtube


While Facebook Home is boasting of its first half a million downloads from Google Playstore, people are playing skeptics for now. They are all pointing their fingers at the fact that half a million download is nothing in the face of the sheer number of members that the online social networking site has. And besides, half a million downloads does not mean half a million installs and it also does not indicate how many people actually loaded the app and also uninstalled the app. Facebook Home is facing a huge controversy at this point as users ponder the legitimacy, necessity and intrusion of privacy. Google lovers also are careful that Facebook does not override their all-beloved Google.

And while we are onto the topic of Google, the long-standing court case instigated by Viacom which resulted in a very controversial decision came into the spotlight again recently when a New York judge ruled that Google did everything within its power to follow what was outlined in DMCA, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

As we all know, Viacom is a huge media giant and has copyright over many shows, current and in the past, and they have every right to be outraged that many of its content is available on Youtube. Many of these media were uploaded by the users themselves and when Google took over Youtube, they WERE wondering if they could tackle the copyright issues that is bound to linger along with the new acquisition. Before they took over, Youtube’s been in operation for quite a long time, that is.

Viacom claimed that Youtube had the responsibility of removing and ‘taking action’ against those who were uploading those files onto Youtube, many of them pertaining to popular shows South Park and Spongebob. Viacom says that there are more than one hundred and sixty thousand of such videos on Youtube site and has been viewed billions of times.

While Viacom has a right to such claims but is it reasonable for the media giant to lay the claim on Youtube? Did Youtube…or Google…do everything within their power to address the issues raised?

At first, Viacom lost the case as the judge found that Youtube adhered to DMCA. DMCA operates differently from copyright laws for conventional media. As we all know, things are a little harder to control because the Internet is just so….widespread, for lack of a better word, and DMCA’s main role is to strike a balance between traditional and conventional media and sometimes to protect new media sites like Youtube.

So, Viacom lost. And then a year later, the case was revived and Youtube was found to have known about the infringements, and last Friday, the court finally ruled, once again, that Youtube/Google acted in accordance to DMCA.

Case closed. Hopefully.

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