Viacom sues YouTube

Just up on Yahoo!….Viacom sues YouTube for $1 billion.

I have not seen the complaint for the suit, so I don’t know whether the basis for the suit is contributory infringement, inducement, or some direct infringement theory. The most obvious cause of action would be contributory infringement, but it isn’t hard to find stories that YouTube follows DMCA notice and takedown provisions. This makes me think that YouTube is inside the DMCA safe harbor and unlikely to lose. But perhaps there’s something in the complaint that will make the suit stick.

In the meantime, I imagine that the suit is actually a way for Viacom to “scream and yell” at YouTube, letting them know they want some kind of licensing deal for their content. Any speculation (or informed insight) on what the eventual settlement will be?

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2 Responses

  1. mmmbeer says:

    Here’s the complaint.

    My guess, Google is spoiling for a copyright fight and settlement isn’t likely. At the time Google purchased YouTube, everyone knew that that was just asking to be sued. This was a calculated acquisition.

    They want a court to find that their passive operation of YouTube (and responsiveness to takedowns) makes them fall squarely within the safe harbor.

    Indeed, what Viacom wants (active pruning of copyrighted material) might take them squarely out of the safe harbor.

  2. Simon says:

    I offer some initial thoughts here.