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Viacom-YouTube Case: Google Doesn’t Have To Reveal Innermost Secrets

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Viacom’s (NYSE: VIA) $1 billion YouTube copyright suit may have gone quiet in recent months, but it picked up again on Tuesday when Google (NSDQ: GOOG) was handed two partial victories…

Manhattan district judge Louis L. Stanton granted Google a protective order meaning it doesn’t have to hand over its key search source code, which Viacom had wanted to use to illustrate a lack of copyright filters but which Google successfully argued was a trade secret, DJ reports. He also turned down Viacom’s request for the algorithm to YouTube’s Video Identification, which encourages content owners to supply information to help track infringements.

Stanton said Viacom showed no evidence that the search algorithm “can discriminate between infringing and non-infringing video”: “YouTube and Google should not be made to place this vital asset in hazard merely to allay speculation.” Though that that looks like it’s not going so well for Viacom, the judge did make several other rulings in its favour… YouTube must cough up all the infringing videos it has removed, it must present video popularity logs and it must show its database schema (ie. what kinds of info YouTube stores).

This all boils down to Viacom wanting to know what info YouTube stores and how (or, if) it roots out copyrighted material. In the background – the UK’s Premier League and music publisher Bourne Co., which have also sued are are seeking class-action status with Viacom.

Updated: Responding to web outcry today on the compulsion YouTube must reveal access logs, Viacom said it “has not asked for and will not be obtaining any personally identifiable information of any user”.

Here’s the judge’s ruling in full…

3 Responses to “Viacom-YouTube Case: Google Doesn’t Have To Reveal Innermost Secrets”

  1. This is a complete invasion of privacy on the part of Viacom and our user information doesn’t have any relevance to their billion dollar lawsuit against Google. Google should be able to anatomize the user information before handing over 12 terabytes of personal information so my privacy and the privacy of millions like me are protected. I have a campaign that will force Viacom to allow Google/YouTube to protect us or 100,000 will boycott Viacom and all its subsidiaries:

  2. e thomas

    The top brass at Google must have shit for brains if they didn't realise
    that their Youtube site wasn't infringeing copyright law but this why i believe
    they paid such a hansome price for Youtube ,they thought they could get away
    with it and if action is not taken now all forms of IP be it copyright or trademarks won't be worth the paper the certificates are printed on but was
    does't surprise me is Google are not prepared to take the blame but are
    more than willing to drop all their users into a meat grinder ,cowards nothing
    but cowards there is know exscuse for google allowing copyrighted material
    to be shown on youtube there is the technology out there to filter and tag it
    before it is shown but i know of one company that has the technology and
    it is called Blinkx so the obvious solution for Google if they want to save
    Youtube is to either contact Blinkx to use their technology or just buy
    Blinkx .Com outright it would be a lot less than paying Viacom damages
    and maybe Google Blinkx and Viacom could all think about working together which could
    be very lucrative to all.

  3. I just went to viacom and ended up on their atom website … tried to watch an episode but as soon as the adverts are done it just stops. So it was not possible for me to see anything on their page.

    And that is the problem.
    Do people go to youtube to avoid paying for stuff? Do they go there because they want to break copyright law?
    No. They go there because that is where you find everything. It is fast, convenient and it works.
    Viacom and all the other old media companies need to wake up, and realise that the reason people watch stuff online is not because it is free, but because it is smarter, easier and more convenient.
    The only way they can stop it, is to deliver stuff as good as youtube, and then add some extra stuff that make them better.