Court Tosses Viacom's $1-Billion Claim Against Youtube
Viacom, which owns Paramount Pictures as well as such cable networks as MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and BET, has vowed to appeal a federal judge's decision on Thursday tossing out its $1-billion copyright-infringement lawsuit against Google's YouTube. In a statement, Viacom general counsel Michael Fricklas said, "YouTube and Google stole hundreds of thousands of video clips from artists and content creators, including Viacom, building a substantial business that was sold for billions of dollars. ... We believe that should not be allowed by law or common sense." In his ruling, Judge Louis Stanton cited the safe-harbor provision in copyright law which says in effect that if an Internet site is aware of any copyright infringement then he must remove it, but "if not, the burden is on the owner to identify the infringement" to the provider. Meanwhile, U.S. "piracy czar" Victoria Espinel told the Senate Judiciary Committee that the Obama administration is planning to "go after the foreign-based websites and Web services that infringe our intellectual property rights." She provided no details. In written testimony, Warner Bros. CEO Barry Meyer reiterated that movie piracy costs the industry more than $20 billion a year. He noted that his studio's Sherlock Holmes was downloaded illegally more than 1.7 million times in the first 30 days after it was released in December.