In an earlier essay in this series, Randy Picker discussed the recent copyright decision in Viacom v. YouTube, and in particular the court’s ruling that the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s “safe harbor” for remote storage applies to YouTube’s online video service. I agree with Randy that the court’s interpretation of the DMCA is problematic, but I see a good argument that the outcome is correct and that the ruling should be affirmed on appeal.
Viacom v. YouTube is a hugely important case. It pits the world’s fourth-biggest media company against Internet behemoth Google, which purchased YouTube in 2006 for $1.65 billion. The latest ruling finds that YouTube’s core business – the storage, searching, and transmission of user-uploaded video – does not violate copyright law, as long as YouTube expeditiously removes unauthorized copyrighted material when it becomes aware of it. (That’s a simplification of the decision, but it will do for present purposes.) [...]
James Gibson, Viacom v. YouTube: A Different View on the District Court Ruling, The Media Institute (July 13, 2010), available at http://www.mediainstitute.org/IPI/2010/071310.php.