Copyright, copyright, copyright. That’s all we ever seem to hear about these days. Here in Canada, we of course have the ongoing debate/battle over reforming our outdated legislation. It’s a situation that turned ugly this week with our Heritage Minister taking it to critics by calling them “radical extremists.” Of equal if not more importance, however, is yesterday’s ruling in the Google-versus-Viacom fight.
A U.S. judge handed Google a big victory against Viacom, which was suing the internet company for more than $1 billion over alleged copyright violations by YouTube. Viacom was upset that its video content, mainly music videos and chunks of TV shows, was being uploaded to YouTube by users. In its lawsuit, the company said Google wasn’t doing enough to keep such content off the site, so it was therefore guilty of copyright infringement.
The judge didn’t see it that way and sided with Google. He said Google qualified under the “safe harbour” provisions of U.S. law, which shields companies from infringement as long as they move quickly to take down copyrighted material once notified. Viacom has already said it’s going to appeal and the case will likely find its way to the Supreme Court. Some observers believe Congress will eventually get involved.
Lots and lots of people are paying attention to the case, as it could have far-reaching effects. Not surprisingly, the porn industry is lustily watching and awaiting the ultimate outcome (puns intended). Adult companies have their own personal YouTube – well, actually dozens of YouTubes – to contend with in the form of YouPorn, RedTube et al, which are sucking money from them like… well, let’s just end that analogy right there.
You may remember that a little while back, the industry put out their own public service video asking people to please, please pay for their porn and not watch it on the YouTube clones. That plea, not surprisingly, fell on deaf ears, so the industry is hoping Hollywood can do some of the heavy lifting.
“In light of this decision the Hollywood movie industry will be pounding on a lot of doors to get something done. They didn’t listen to [the adult industry] but the big movie studios they will and perhaps adult can benefit as fellow content creators,” adult industry attorney Clyde DeWitt told AVN (link is not safe for work).
Gill Sperlein, lawyer for adult company Titan Media, told Xbiz that the court got some things wrong in its ruling. “Specifically, the court ruled that an [internet service provider] must have direct knowledge of infringing activity in order to be able to control it. This is a departure from a long line of cases addressing vicarious copyright infringement.”
(Image courtesy of BNET)