Google Responds to Viacom’s YouTube Suit

In a response filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, Internet giant Google has responded to the $1 billion copyright infringement lawsuit filed against it and its YouTube subsidiary by media conglomerate Viacom—and, unsurprisingly, Google refutes nearly all of Viacom’s claims and demands a jury trail.

In March, Viacom filed suit against Google and YouTube alleging the video sharing site engages in “massive intentional copyright infringement,” enabling views to violate copyrights to Viacom programming like MTV programming and the popular The Daily Show with Jon Stewart on Comedy Central. In its response, Google claims that YouTube actually goes “above and beyond” the obligations required under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DCMA) and cooperates with copyright holders to swiftly remove unauthorized material from the video sharing service. The DCMA explicitly protects Internet hosts from copyright lawsuits so long as they comply with valid requests to remove infringing material. “By seeking to make carriers and hosting providers liable for Internet communications, Viacom’s complaint threatens the way hundreds of millions of people legitimately exchange information, news, entertainment, and political and artistic expression,” Google wrote in its response.

A Viacom spokesperson countered that YouTube does not qualify for protection under the provisions of the DMCA, but declined to elaborate on the reasoning behind the statement. Google CEO Eric Schmidt has characterized Viacom’s lawsuit as a “negotiating tactic” on several occasions. Google has promised to offer tools to copyright holders which would help them more easily identify pirated content, but has offered no timeline as to when such tools may become available…and, of course, there’s no way of knowing ahead of time how effective they might be.

The next court date for the lawsuit is a case management hearing scheduled for July 27.

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