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Thursday, April 05, 2012
Court Gives New Life To Viacom-YouTube Copyright Case


A U.S. appeals court has revived lawsuits by Viacom the English Premier League, and other film studios and TV networks accusing Google of allowing copyrighted videos on YouTube.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday reversed a June 2010 lower court decision in favor of YouTube. The lower court judge had ruled that YouTube was protected from copyright infringement claims, and the safe harbor of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

In the Court Of Appeals, Judge Jose Cabranes concluded that "a reasonable jury could find that YouTube had actual knowledge or awareness of specific infringing activity on its website."

Lawyers have been debated whether the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act shields a company like YouTube from broad copyright claims.

The appeals decision pertained to several lawsuits filed against YouTube. Viacom claimed Youtube committed "rampant copyright infringement" and others in which The Football Association Premier League Ltd. and various film studios and music publishers joined to challenge YouTube's practices. "We are pleased with the decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals. The Court delivered a definitive, common sense message - intentionally ignoring theft is not protected by the law," VIAcom said in a statement. The full text of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision is available here.

Despite their legal battles, Viacom and Youtube on Wednesday announced a partnership to offer online rentals of Paramount films. Viacom is the parent company of Paramount Pictures Corporation.


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