YouTube Wins Copyright Suit with Viacom

Judge rules company not liable for users' posts of protected content


In an epic clash between old and new media, Google Inc.'s video website YouTube has scored another huge victory in the long-running skirmish over copyright infringement brought by television giant Viacom Inc.

A federal judge in New York on Thursday ruled that YouTube had not violated Viacom's copyright even though users of the popular online site were allowed to post unauthorized video clips from some of Viacom's most popular shows, including Comedy Central's "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" and Nickelodeon's "SpongeBob SquarePants."

Viacom filed the copyright infringement suit in 2007 and demanded that YouTube pay $1 billion in damages. The dispute erupted as established media titans, including Viacom, were struggling to cope with the disruption of digital media and trying to figure out how to rein in the unauthorized distribution of their content.