Google Responds To Viacom Case: Bring On The Jury
Google has responded to the
case filed against it by Viacom over video content on YouTube. Key takeaway?
Google says the DMCA
Safe Harbor provisions protect it from liability and wants a jury trial to
prove its innocence. Several sources have covered the story already, so I’ll do
a round-up of what’s being said:
Google Files Response To Viacom Lawsuit; Denies Claims; Seeks Jury Trial
from PaidContent writes:
Google’s 12-page response echoes its initial reaction—insistence that it
has upheld the DMCA and that any finding otherwise would cause damage beyond
Google. The constant refrain: “Defendants deny the allegations…"
Google responds to Viacom lawsuit from eWeek’s Google Watch has a copy of
the actual response
here (PDF file). There’s not a lot to it, other than short, constant denials
to allegations in the original Viacom complaint (here,
Those denials are more to do with how you react to legal cases initially than
actually try to prove points. Serious rebuttal happens if you go to trial — or
if you move to dismiss a case (which I assume Google feels wouldn’t be possible
The most substantial portion of Google’s response is really from the first
paragraph of the document:
Viacom’s complaint in this action challenges the careful balance
established by Congress when it enacted the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
The DMCA balances the rights of copyright holders and the need to protect the
internet as an important new form of communication. By seeking to make
carriers and hosting providers liable for internet communications, Viacom’s
complaint threatens the way hundreds of millions of people legitimately
exchange information, news, entertainment, and political and artistic
expression. Google and YouTube respect the importance of intellectual property
rights, and not only comply with their safe harbor obligations under the DMCA,
but go well above and beyond what the law requires.
Google To Viacom: Sorry, You’re All Wrong from BusinessWeek notes:
Among a list of a dozen defenses, Kwun [Google counsel Michael Kwun] said the
key one is the Safe Harbor provision of the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright
Act, which to some legal minds provides a defense for firms that quickly take
down copyrighted material when it’s requested by copyright holders. What’s more,
Kwun said, "We actually got well above and beyond what the law tells us to
Kwun took a jab at Viacom and other studios, too. "There’s a certain irony to
the situation (with the DMCA)," he said. "These are the very people that helped
to design the law. Suddenly, they don’t want to live with the other end of the
Although CEO Eric Schmidt and other Google executives have characterized the
Viacom lawsuit as a form of negotiating through the courts, Kwun said Google’s
"more than happy to litigate. I don’t view that as a business negotiation."
Google Calls Viacom Suit on YouTube Unfounded from the New York Times has
this response from Viacom to Google’s response:
“This response ignores the most important fact of the suit, which is that
YouTube does not qualify for safe harbor protection under the D.M.C.A.,”
Viacom said. “It is obvious that YouTube has knowledge of infringing material
on their site, and they are profiting from it.”
That’s the same as what PaidContent has (and probably others, though it has
yet to show up on Viacom’s
dedicated area about the YouTube case). I like the extra bit PaidContent
has, Viacom’s slam against Google:
“It is simply not credible that a company whose mission is to organize the
world’s information claims that it can’t find what’s on YouTube.”
Google Case Spells Windfall For Lawyers from Forbes covers the law firms
involved in the case:
For the firms, high-profile equals high fees. If litigated, the case would
rack up hundreds of millions in legal charges, according to litigation
consultants. A large chunk of that would land in Wilson and Barlit’s coffers.
Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.
(Some images used under license from Shutterstock.com.)
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