Monday, March 22, 2010

Viacom v YouTube: Viacom wants to make all other service providers proactively filter content for infringement: downstream liability again


Fred Von Lohmann has an important article on EFF in the latest chapter of Viacom v. YouTube, “Viacom makes its case against yesterday’s YouTube”, with link here.

Lohmann explains an ironic twist in discussing the case. The plaintiff is satisfied with the way YouTube has been run since mid 2008, with a tool called “video identification” or “ContentID” (link http://www.youtube.com/t/contentid 0 where copyright owners can tag content and have it blocked or monetized on YouTube. But, as EFF explains, Viacom wants “everyone else” to implement a similar level of copyright filtering. And Viacom seems to be attacking the use of the safe harbor provision for other claims (like inducement or “vicarious liability”).

As we’ve note with other issues about downstream liability (section 230 and the recent case in Italy regarding “invasion of privacy”, here, Feb. 24, 2010), the functioning of the open Web (and by and large social media) depends on preventing service providers from having to take responsibility for consumer behavior that they have no reasonable way to control.

Viacom’s page for YouTube litigation is here. Youtube’s (PDF, “highly confidential”) is here. Read them and weep! (as if they were the exhbits for law school final exam questions!)

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