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    Wednesday, 21 March 2007

    Viacom v YouTube (Google): money for old rope?

    Much has been written already about the case being brought by Viacom in the hope of putting an end to alleged infringement of copyright tv shows etc on YouTube (and equivalent platforms by deterrent effect) (see here, and here, and here etc), and the general sense is that the case will boil down to interpretations of the safe harbour defence or fair dealing / use defence on one hand, opposed to the inducement of copyright infringement notion developed in Grokster on the other.

    We've got to ask however whether there is really any plan to pursue this argument through to court. The threat is certainly a useful means of putting pressure on Google to 'sharpen up' its own oversight re uploading of content by users (rather than leaving the policing function to rights-holders). But more generally, the claim seems potentially baseless. Fine, Viacom will be losing eyeballs on its own commercial websites, but in the context of placement advertising within content the alleged extra 1.5bn downloads (?!) of programmes massively increases the value to advertisers of its in-show placements. 'Please stop!!, no please stop.....'

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