Viacom Wants You (or, more precisely, your YouTube viewing patterns)


In 2007, entertainment behemoth Viacom sued Google, owner of YouTube, claiming that the video-sharing behemoth was using unlicensed copyrighted material as a means of gaining eyeballs, selling ads, and thus making money. YouTube responded to the copyright-infringement claims by invoking the "safe-harbor" clause of the odious Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) and pledging to promptly take down copyrighted materials when notified of infringement.

Here's the latest court developments, and they should interest (read: worry) anyone interested in the free flow of information on the intertubes, via DailyTech:

As part of its $1 billion lawsuit against user-video site YouTube, Viacom will receive a complete log of all users' activities, which will include a list of usernames, IP addresses, and videos that each account has viewed in the past.

Viacom says it wants to use the data to prove that copyright-infringing videos draw higher amounts of traffic than user-generated and fully-legal content. If Viacom's hypothesis turns out to be true, it could increase penalties against YouTube if found liable for contributory copyright infringement.

The court order to turn over site logs came as part of a sweeping request by Viacom, where it attempted to acquire source code for the site's search engine and copyright video filter—which YouTube wrote as the result of previous litigation with copyright holders—as well as copies of YouTube parent Google's advertisement database schema, and copies of all videos on the site marked "private." U.S. District Judge Louis Stanton, who is presiding over the case in New York, struck down Viacom's other requests.

YouTube will, however, also have to produce information on how private videos are viewed, including information on who watched them and how many times.

More here.

reason on how the DMCA hurts the public interest here.

On intellectual property here.