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Google Beats Viacom!

Jun 24, 2010, 15:35 (6 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Pamela Jones)

"This just in: Google has beaten Viacom on summary judgment. The judge has just ruled [PDF] that Google does qualify for DMCA safe harbor protection. "General knowledge that infringement is 'ubiquitous' does not impose a duty on the service provider to monitor or search its service for infringements," the judge wrote. So "the burden is on the owner to identify the infringement." This is huge.

"Of course, Viacom will appeal, they say. When I see people ganging up on Google for whatever flaws they are looking at, notice also please that Google fought for the Internet in this case, at great expense. And they won a victory for all of us. In fact, I had decided that if they lost, I would shutter Groklaw. It would have been legally too risky to continue. So, thank you, Google, for not letting the Hollywood content bullies destroy the Internet as we know it.

"The operative paragraph in the judge's order, to me, is this one:

"The tenor of the foregoing provisions is that the phrases "actual knowledge that the material or an activity" is infringing, and "facts or circumstances" indicating infringing activity, describe knowledge of specific and identifiable infringements of particular individual items. Mere knowledge of prevalence of such activity in general is not enough. That is consistent with an area of the law devoted to protection of distinctive individual works, not of libraries. To let knowledge of a generalized practice of infringement in the industry, or of a proclivity of users to post infringing materials, impose responsibility on service providers to discover which of their users' postings infringe a copyright would contravene the structure and operation of the DMCA."

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