Viacom files appeal in YouTube copyright case, continues to 'drag it out'

Don't worry -- that "drag it out" bit belongs to Google, not us. If you'll recall, the suits in Mountain View threw an underground party back in June when the federal court ruled that YouTube fell under the "safe harbor" provision of the DMCA which protects service providers from liability for user content. In essence, this ensured that Google couldn't be sued or held liable for damages caused by some prankster uploading a ripped episode of 30 Rock to the site, being that Google has promised to yank it post-haste if notified by the copyright owner. That essentially puts the burden of policing on the content creator, but (sensibly) frees Google from the impossible feat of looking at every single clip that gets uploaded before making it live to the world. Just to give you a little perspective, 24 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute, and that's expected to become even greater as time passes. Despite the logic (and the ruling of the court), Viacom has today filed a 72-page appeal in a likely futile attempt to fight back.

All Things D highlights a killer quote from Viacom in the report -- apparently it thinks that if the ruling stands, it'll "radically transform the functioning of the copyright system and severely impair, if not completely destroy, the value of many copyrighted creations." As for Google's response? "We regret that Viacom continues to drag out this case. The court here, like every other court to have considered the issue, correctly ruled that the law protects online services like YouTube, which remove content when notified by the copyright holder that it is unauthorized. We will strongly defend the court's decision on appeal." We doubt anything will turn out differently the next go 'round, but obviously we'll be watching with great interest. Now, back to that clip of 30 Rock we were enjoying quite legally on Hulu...