EFF, Lessig On Google's/YouTube's Side In Viacom Suit
Not surprisingly, two key advocates for a rather open use of Internet content usage are siding with Google in the $1 billion suit filed against them and their YouTube operation by Viacom earlier this week.
Here's the gist of the Electronic Frontier Foundation's take:
"Viacom's suit isn't just a threat to YouTube -- it's a threat to innovators of all stripes. YouTube has complied with takedown requests under the DMCA, including Viacom's 100,000 video takedown barrage last month," EFF says on its blog today. "If Viacom convinces a court that YouTube is nevertheless liable for copyright infringement, it could have a chilling effect on any business that hosts content on behalf of users and thus frustrate the many perfectly lawful uses of such technologies.
"Viacom's filings demonstrate a basic misunderstanding about users' rights. Viacom complains that YouTube allows users to share 'unauthorized' materials, yet 'unauthorized'does not always equal 'illegal' or 'infringing.,'" the EFF continues. "There are many ways in which fans' posting short clips can constitute fair use, such as excerpting for commentary or news reporting. Indeed, Viacom's takedowns last month led to the removal of a variety of non-infringing videos."
If you think that's a strong opinion, try the views of Stanford Prof. Larry Lessig:
"This case -- if it is really intended as a law suit and not a move in a bargaining game -- should be decided on the meaning of s512(c)," writes Lessig, referring to a notice of infringing material filed in a complaint by a copyright holder against the purported infringer. "The question will be whether YouTube has the 'ability to control' uploads before they are identified as infringing. Viacom complains that YouTube shifts to it the burden of identifying infringing content. Not true.
"The DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) does," he points out. "Until at least Congress amends it, or the Supreme Court adds some new common law of copyright to the statute books.
Related Tags: Viacom, viacom, YouTube, youtube, users
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