Google's YouTube Must Defend Viacom Suit, Appeals Court Says
By David Glovin and Don Jeffrey-Apr 5, 2012 10:53 AM ET
Google Inc. (GOOG)’s YouTube must defend a lawsuit claiming it violated Viacom Inc. (VIAB)’s copyrights by letting its users post videos from shows including “The Colbert Report” without authorization, an appeals court ruled.
The U.S. Court of Appeals in Manhattan today reversed a lower-court decision in favor of YouTube and said Mountain View, California-based Google must defend the case.
“A reasonable jury could find that YouTube had actual knowledge or awareness of specific infringing activity on its website,” a two-judge panel said in a 39-page decision.
Viacom sued YouTube in 2007, claiming the site’s users were illegally uploading thousands of videos of Viacom television programs, such as “South Park” and “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart,” and movies from its Paramount Pictures studio. The New York-based entertainment company sought $1 billion in damages.
U.S. District Judge Louis Stanton ruled in 2010 that YouTube was protected from liability by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act because it removed the offending videos when notified they had been posted.
Viacom, which appealed the ruling, said YouTube was aware of the copyright violation when it displayed the videos without authorization.
The case is Viacom International v. YouTube, 10-03270, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (Manhattan). The lower- court case is Viacom v. YouTube, 07-2103, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).
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