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Viacom sues YouTube for $1 billion

Suit accuses Google of 'massive copyright infringement' of Viacom's assets

     
1:51 pm on Mar 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Media conglomerate Viacom said Tuesday it filed a $1 billion lawsuit against Google and its Internet video sharing site YouTube over unauthorized use of its copyrighted entertainment.

[money.cnn.com...]

added a better link.

1:55 pm on Mar 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Ooops...that's a lot of money!

So Youtube cost Google nearly $1.7bn and now they might have to pay out another $1bn for infringing copyright. That's crazy!

I guess they will settle out of court though...

2:08 pm on Mar 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

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This is just the beginning.
2:21 pm on Mar 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

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YouTube + Google = Lawsuits
2:26 pm on Mar 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

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It's a drop in the ocean. Viacom will just get told to go away, and handed a nice cheque.

And people wonder why G. have over $10bn in cash reserves?

This is all just part of the business plan. It was completely expected and predicted. It was all decided before Google actually completed on the YouTube purchase.

YouTube + Google = Lawsuits

Exactly. Always was. There's no surprise factor here, just part of a larger business plan.

Schmidt is a smooth operator.

TJ

[edited by: trillianjedi at 2:28 pm (utc) on Mar. 13, 2007]

2:27 pm on Mar 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

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They waited until there was an entity owning Youtube that could actually afford to pay that much. Clever lawyers. Evil, but clever.

Why a billion? Nice round number that makes alot of press.

1 billion / 160,000 claimed clips (of 10 minutes or less each) = $6,250 per clip

They should send Google to the MPAA settlement website so they can settle for a much lower figure and pay easily via a major credit card. LOL!

Now let's suppose Google somehow loses this case. Do you think they will start going after end-users who uploaded the content and get them to pay? Will this be the final straw that clearly makes Google become evil?

[edited by: amznVibe at 2:34 pm (utc) on Mar. 13, 2007]

2:29 pm on Mar 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Google has deep pockets, I am sure this is just the beginning.
2:42 pm on Mar 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

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That's a lot of cash, but didn't Google/Youtube remove a bunch of those videos last month?
2:52 pm on Mar 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Billion here, billion there, pretty soon you're talking real money!
3:05 pm on Mar 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

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you don't bite the hand that feeds.
the lawsuit is a good negotiating tool for viacom, but ultimately google has the "viacom penalty" that could be applied as needed.
3:10 pm on Mar 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

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VERY good point. This will turn out like the Blackberry lawsuit. A lot of suits posturing then a few dollars exchanged and people go on their way. The worst that could happen for Google is that they cut back on the oatmeal in the employee cafeteria.
3:12 pm on Mar 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

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>>Exactly. Always was. There's no surprise factor here, just part of a larger business plan.

I hope you're wrong or Google has a MAJOR SOx issue and folks are going to jail.

3:15 pm on Mar 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

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For another 9 Billion, Google could buy Viacom. For $5 Billion they could get controling interest, and make the lawsuit go away.

I think this is just a negotiating tactic. Google and Viacom was trying to reach a deal earlier this year on licensing rights of Viacom on YouTube. The deal fell apart, as Viacom wanted to much money.

Now Viacom is sueing, to get Google back to the table, to work out a deal.

Its just all fun and games.

3:25 pm on Mar 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I hope you're wrong or Google has a MAJOR SOx issue and folks are going to jail.

What's the crime?

3:31 pm on Mar 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Yeah, the lawsuit is a negotiating tactic, eventually they will settle where they get paid something when their material gets posted. These things are rarely winner take all.

Itís actually pretty amazing, and a testament to just how strong financially these guys are to be able to drop 1.5 billion on something without any real concrete plan to realize a return on the investment. Thatís the real question; when is Google going to turn a profit with this thing; Any guesses?

4:04 pm on Mar 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Now let's suppose Google somehow loses this case.

Didn't Microsoft just lose a $1b copyright case? (Microsoft fined $1.5 billion in Alcatel-Lucent.)

To suggest this suit is merely a negotiating tool is simplistic. They already tried negotiation; that's why there's a suit!

Look what happened to Napster...

In the youtube case, there's not much case law, and both sides have strong opinions, which will lead to legal war and precedent ruling.

Google pushes the envelope on copyright. They may or may not win this case.

YouTube is useless without copyright violations. That is evil, regardless of the judge's opinion, and even if Google removes stuff brought to its attention.

p/g

4:16 pm on Mar 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Copywrited material is copywrited material. If you do not have permission, you do not have permission.

Google should have thought twice about you tubes purchase because of that issue right there.

Also, the original creators of you tube need to be worried as well. There is a statue of limitations and companies could persue them as well.

4:41 pm on Mar 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I'm fairly certain Google has enough legal suits to have figured that out prior to purchasing. :-)

This is just part part of doing business with the big boys. Do you think for a second they just wrote a check for youtube not thinking this would be an issue? Nope! Anytime this type of purchase is made they figuratively speaking "write-off" these expenses before hand. they just know a few checks will have to be written. I'm not saying it was a good purchase but let's not be nieve and think Google purchased youtube on a whim out of their paypal account not kowing what they were in for.

4:49 pm on Mar 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

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If this lawsuit falls through then I'm creating a large ftp server and hosting every copyrighted application and movie ever created. Then I'll load adsense. Maybe Google will buy it.
5:18 pm on Mar 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Maybe Google will buy it.

Get a few million page views per day and any advertiser is going to least consider it.

5:33 pm on Mar 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Their business model, which is based on building traffic and selling advertising off of unlicensed content, is clearly illegal and is in obvious conflict with copyright laws.

If Viacom wins this case in court (it will probably be settled outside), then above line could come back to haunt google & others for more stuff. & that might very will be the beginning of the new era of "opt in" for caching as compared to "opt out" of it.

P.S.. I kinda like caching tho, it saved me hours of work one time.

5:38 pm on Mar 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Google to buy Viacom, and NBC, and CBS, and Comcast and Dis and ... Yeah OK.

We really son't know how p()ssed they might be. Sometimes a slight, or a perceived one, can cause the CEO to go nuts :)
One thing, I do know though: There's no youtube without copyrighted content. The content owners can move it to MSFT, YHOO or their own startup. User loyalties are tied to content, especially since there's no preventing the new company from being as user-friendly as youtube.

And Google's deep pockets, only hurt them. Say they settle with Viacom: watch others run over each other trying to reach court first. The penalty can be $150,000 for each copyright violation...they do add up really quick even if you lose one out of hundreds.

6:27 pm on Mar 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

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watch others run over each other trying to reach court first

And I'll bet half of all the searches on the YouTube today and moving forward are being done to prepare for court!

JAG

8:10 pm on Mar 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Fortune Mag:
Why Viacom could prevail
[thebrowser.blogs.fortune.com...]
"...Viacomís case hits a little deeper. Owenís describing the kind of third-party indemnification traditionally awarded to certain kinds of distributors: If a blogger commits an act of libel, say, the libeled party has no recourse to sue the ISP or the software manufacturer that blogger uses.

But I think itís debatable that YouTube will enjoy such a privilege. As the Viacom suitnotes, YouTube sells advertising against the copyrighted materialĖthatís the kind of commercial cashing in that could eliminate any kind of fair use defense."

8:24 pm on Mar 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Time for Google to relocate it's headquarters to Dubai.
8:35 pm on Mar 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Then what was all the posturing to get YouTube to remove 100k videos a month ago? Seems like sour grapes on ViaComs part. They can't monitize their own content and resent anyone who can?
8:43 pm on Mar 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

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>> Then what was all the posturing to get YouTube to remove 100k videos a month ago? Seems like sour graps on ViaComs part. They can't monitize their own content and resent anyone who can?

Brett,
that is irrelevant. If I decide that you cannot properly monetize WebmasterWorld, can I cut and paste--or encourage my users to--your forums in my site and sell ads?

8:59 pm on Mar 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

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With all due respect, Brett:

I would be a little peeved if my copyrighted material was yielding profits for anybody other than me. Especially if it was done without my consent.

Sometimes I wonder how Google/You Tube could possibly feel justified by taking other people's content and putting their ads all over it. It seems like a no-brainer that it goes against rudementary business ethics, and yet, since there has yet to be a set centralized way to govern that sort of thing on the net (at least one that actually influences the way juggernauts like G do business), they do so without batting an eye.
It's pure audacity.

Google kind of takes an "it's only wrong if somebody who's somebody does something about it" approach to their general way of doing business, rather than just asking themselves if it's wrong or not.
Right now, it's not hurting them too badly, because they can afford to take the lawsuits, but what's going to happen someday when a huge celebrity or someone like that with social influence becomes the victim of their piracy and begins to speak out about it.
What about when SAAG (Screen Actors Against Google) forms to try and get all of the movies that they're in off of GooTube or something like that.

It only took a creepy drummer from Metallica to take down Napster. It would definitely take something huge to strike any kind of blow to the Goog, but it could happen. Maybe some day News Corp., Viacom, Disney and who knows what other giant company will all get together and really brainstorm about this.

Much of this is extremely hypothetical and far-fetched. Just brainstorming and trying to keep things interesting. :)

9:00 pm on Mar 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I hope you're wrong or Google has a MAJOR SOx issue and folks are going to jail.


What's the crime?

Disclosure. You're saying Google knew that the purchase of YouTube would attract billion dollar lawsuits. I don't ever remember reading they were going to set up a fund to pay for such lawsuits. They need to inform investors they are expecting these future liabilities.

[edited by: BillyS at 9:01 pm (utc) on Mar. 13, 2007]

9:02 pm on Mar 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I have to agree, this is about viacom (Who also owns MTV) property. Obviously viacom and google could not come to an agreement, so do you blame viacom? I do not, this is about big business and a lot of money.

People knew this was going to happen to google once they bought You Tube, google even set aside money for lawsuits. So now is it all going to fall? Well google is in a pinch, if they settle every tom, dick and harry will sue, if they fight, they will probally lose as well.

A judge could order google to shut down You Tube until all this is settled in court as well, that would also hurt google.

Either way I see it, Google will have to pay up. This is all about business.

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