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On today’s investor relations call, Google CFO Patrick Pichette said that Google’s (s GOOG) years-long legal battle with Viacom (s VIA) cost a total of $100 million in legal fees. And the case never even went to trial, instead getting thrown out by the judge last month.
Pichette said that Google was pleased by the copyright case’s dismissal, but that’s still a hefty chunk of change. And while that’s the kind of legal bill a tech giant like Google can handle, smaller companies haven’t been as lucky.
“Clearly the UMG lawsuit was a tremendous weight on the company. It was both financially draining and distracting, and it choked off the ability for any significant strategic deals, because everybody we talked to was terrified of getting sued immediately,” he said. “And we know that potential investors were thinking that, too.”
Kafka reported that the UMG lawsuit only cost the company “something in the $6 million to $8 million range in legal fees,” and as Ryan Lawler wrote at the time, problems with the company’s management and strategy were major contributing factors towards the company’s failure.
Related GigaOm Pro Content (subscription required): Why Viacom’s Fight With YouTube Threatens Web Innovation (subscription required)