The current lawsuit that Viacom is pursuing against Google, because of YouTube, threatens the way that information is exchanged over the internet.
If Viacom has its way, the entire ‘chain of custody’ from content source to ISP would be forced to police all binary data ‘on the wires’. Not only would this slow internet traffic to a crawl, it would cost untold amounts of money.
Viacom seems to have certain points on its side, such as contesting the posting of entire copyrighted works, such as television shows, for viewing. On the other side of the coin, how much ‘value’ is being lost here? To most who would examine this, the poor quality of the content makes any real dollar value impossible to assess. In truth, how many interests have been piqued by a sight on you tube, and then a DVD of the program in question purchased? I imagine it is more than a few. Viacom cannot ignore the tremendous value the sight of an otherwise forgotten television program in that small window can have.
Google states that it is doing all it can to keep to the requirements of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. As that is, no matter how incredibly flawed, the law of the land, how can Viacom have a case? To that, add the fact that no system of controls has worked thus far on the internet. Copyrighted content is easy enough to get, it always will be. Make it harder to get to, and you unfairly punish all who use the internet, and those who provide it – you know who eventually pays…
These days, any successful company has to worry about clingers to the teat of that success. Viacom is a huge company, sure, but why not go after some more money? It doesn’t matter that the case may not be provable, it only has to hang on long enough for Google to decide that the nuisance makes it necessary to quietly pay some ‘go away’ money ( anything less than the $1 billion plus legal fees the suit asks for ), and Viacom’s laundry list of things infringed upon gets a great deal of free publicity.
A CNN article states that Viacom alleges 150,000 pieces of its material is on YouTube – I wonder who was tasked with counting each of those works? ( I joke here, as the allegation is simply more incredulous nonsense propagated in this suit)
[tags] Google, YouTube, Viacom, litigation, DMCA, $1,000,000,000, copyrighted content [/tags]