Viacom v YouTube: a decision

District Court Judge Stanton has granted YouTube summary judgment in Viacom’s action for copyright infringement.

The judge’s opinion is here (pdf).

Prof. Goldman provides an initial summary here.

As Prof. Goldman notes, Viacom will presumably seek to appeal.

Given the provenance of our own limited “safe harbours” in the US DMCA via the US Free Trade Agreement, nonetheless, the decision should repay consideration in the Australian context.

On a general note, Judge Stanton distinguished YouTube’s position from Grokster, finding:

It is not remotely the case that You Tube exists “solely to provide the site and facilities for copyright infringement.” . Even the plaintiffs do not (and could not) suggest as much. Indeed, they have repeatedly acknowledged the contrary.
The Grokster model does not comport with that of a service provider who furnishes a platform on which its users
post and access all sorts of materials as they wish, while the provider is unaware of its content, but identifies an agent to receive complaints of infringement, and removes identified material when he learns it infringes. To such a provider, the DMCA gives a safe harbor, even if otherwise he would be held as a contributory infringer under the general law.

While that is made in the context of the DMCA “safe harbour” defences, the point should be well worth bearing in mind when the Full Court comes to decide the iiNet appeal.

Viacom International Inc. v YouTube Inc

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