The judge presiding over the $1 billion Viacom lawsuit against YouTube has allowed Viacom to withdraw copyright infringement claims for about 250 clips, including about 100 that were uploaded to the site by Viacom employees or agents. Not surprisingly, YouTube owner Google is jumping all over this, asking the judge why it should have known that particular clips were infringing when Viacom's own employees uploaded some clips as part of Viacom's marketing strategy.
As you may recall, Viacom sued Google's YouTube for copyright infringement in 2007, arguing that YouTube had built its audience by offering hundreds of clips that contained copyright material without obtaining permission from the owner of the content, Viacom. In addition to arguing that it shouldn't be responsible for figuring out which clips Viacom employees uploaded, Google has based it's defense on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act's safe harbor provisions, which generally state that sites are not liable for copyright infringement based on material uploaded by users, provided that the sites remove the material upon request and that the website did not have knowledge that the material was infringing.
Still Viacom is pursuing legal action against YouTube...
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