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Google wins YouTube copyright case against Viacom

Nilay Patel
June 23, 2010
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The Viacom copyright infringement case against Google and YouTube has been a long strange journey since it started, but it looks like the first major chapter is over: the federal court today ruled that Google falls under the "safe harbor" provision of the DMCA which protects service providers from liability for user content. Roughly, that means Google isn't liable for copyright infringement on YouTube in general: it can only be liable for infringing specific copyrighted works, and since YouTube pulls videos as soon as anyone complains, it can't get in trouble. Of course, Viacom isn't too happy about this decision and has vowed to appeal, but we think it makes sense -- otherwise Viacom could sue and win for things Google didn't even know about, like, say, the music videos Viacom employees covertly uploaded themselves and then demanded be removed. We'll see what happens -- in the meantime, we'll be celebrating by watching as much YouTube as possible.

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