The seven year battle between Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Viacom, Inc. (NASDAQ:VIA) (NASDAQ:VIAB) over copyrighted YouTube content has come to an end as the companies reached a settlement.
Google vs. Viacom
Viacom initially filed the lawsuit back in 2007 when the company sued the video streaming website over users posting copyrighted shows from networks like MTV and Comedy Central. YouTube claimed it was not responsible as the site promptly complied with all DCMA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) takedown notices regarding copyrighted materials. Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) even claimed Viacom, Inc. (NASDAQ:VIA) (NASDAQ:VIAB) uploaded their own content on the site, something Viacom denied and claimed YouTube was hiding behind a willful blindness policy.
Four years ago, a judge agreed the social media website complied with the law and ruled against Viacom. Viacom then filed an appeal, and two years later the U.S. Circuit Court ruled in the video content and film production company’s favor. The case was reopened at that point and was not settled until today.
The terms of the settlement were not released.
The end of the fight
PC Mag summed it up with the following, “At the heart of the matter was whether YouTube was responsible for the copyrighted material its users posted on the site. In general, sites that host user-generated content are protected by the DMCA if they take swift action to remove offending content when it’s reported. YouTube argued that it does remove this content, but Viacom, Inc. (NASDAQ:VIA) (NASDAQ:VIAB)’s initial lawsuit said YouTube was hosting at least 160,000 unauthorized Viacom clips.”
Copyright was at the heart of this matter, and the legal complexities involved in copyright law partially explain why a settlement took so long. Although this particular battle is behind them, analysts say the issue is not really settled and further problems could emerge.
The companies released the following joint statement, “Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Viacom, Inc. (NASDAQ:VIA) (NASDAQ:VIAB) today jointly announced the resolution of the Viacom vs. YouTube copyright litigation. This settlement reflects the growing collaborative dialogue between our two companies on important opportunities, and we look forward to working more closely together.”