YouTube Wants BayTSP’s Viacom Records

YouTube, in its ongoing attempt to defend itself against Viacom’s billion-dollar copyright infringement lawsuit, on Oct. 17 asked a court to help it obtain documents from Viacom’s hired copyright enforcers at BayTSP.

We heard about the court filing through a news story on MarketWatch and were able to pull it up for your perusing here (PDF). YouTube alleges that examining BayTSP records will show that YouTube acted promptly and properly on all copyright takedown notices and that Viacom wasn’t as innocent as its lawsuit would suggest. It’s all a little whiny and perhaps even nit-picky, but I guess if you were being sued for that much money you’d be mired in the details, too.

YouTube says it’s been after BayTSP for nine months to get it to turn over these documents, but after many calls, letters and excuses it wants the court to get involved. The documents, according to YouTube, will ultimately help prove its case, that the copyright holder, rather than the video host, is best equipped to figure out whether a video infringes copyright.

Some of the main points YouTube makes are listed below:

“Documents from BayTSP regarding YouTube will demonstrate the folly of Plaintiffs’ position by showing that Viacom and other content owners themselves routinely upload their own video clips to YouTube, typically without disclosing their conduct, to reap the free promotional value that the service provides.”

“Among these will be Viacom’s communications with BayTSP directing it to withhold DMCA notices and allow allegedly infringing activity on YouTube to continue for months. YouTube believes Viacom did so in an attempt to overwhelm YouTube (and manipulate the news) by demanding removal of 100,000 clips all at once.”

“Given BayTSP’s considerable experience with the DMCA’s notice process, YouTube suspects that BayTSP’s deficient notices were no accident, and were instead directed by Viacom improperly to probe and undermine YouTube’s compliance efforts.”