YouTube trends may have changed over the last few years, but the company's legal standing hasn't: according to a federal judge, the DMCA still protects the streaming site from Viacom's copyright claims. The ruling responds to Viacom's appeal of a 2010 case, which stated that YouTube couldn't be held responsible for copyright infringing content uploaded by its users. Viacom sought to revise the ruling, insisting that YouTube was "willfully blind" of the activity. That may be the case, but Judge Louis Stanton sees things differently. "Knowledge of the prevalence of infringing activity, and welcoming it, does not itself forfeit the safe harbor. To forfeit that, the provider must influence or participate in the infringement." Since YouTube doesn't pre-screen content before throwing it live, and because it always takes down infringing content upon request, it simply isn't liable.
Viacom says that the decision "ignores the opinions of the higher courts and completely disregards the rights of creative artists," and promises to appeal the decision again with hopes of taking the case to a jury. Google, on the other hand, is playing it cool. "The court correctly rejected Viacom's lawsuit against YouTube, reaffirming that Congress got it right when it comes to copyright on the Internet. This is a win not just for YouTube, but for people everywhere who depend on the Internet to exchange ideas and information." Looking for a side to pick? Check out the court's full decision after the break.