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Google Says - Bring it on - We Have Safe Harbor Baby

3:13 am on Mar 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Reuters Article [today.reuters.com]

"Here there is a law which is specifically designed to give Web hosts such as us, or... bloggers or people that provide photo-album hosting online ... the 'safe harbor' we need in order to be able to do hosting online," said Alexander Macgillivray, Google's associate general counsel for products and intellectual property.

"We will never launch a product or acquire a company unless we are completely satisfied with its legal basis for operating," Macgillivray told Reuters in an interview.

5:27 pm on Mar 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Google is very asset valuable, over 11 billion in cash! Thats the best asset they have.
5:44 pm on Mar 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Much ado about nothing. One humungous company suing another humungous company, and both know the other's legal department can tie it up in the courts for years, if not a decade. It sounds like they've been trying to hammer out an agreement similar to the one YouTube has with other content providers. Viacom didn't like the negotiations, in other words, Google/YouTube wasn't offering enough money, so they fired a PR shot across Google's bow. Lawyers from both sides are probably chuckling about it together on the back nine of some country club.

Viacom wants to give Google a black eye, but they know the lawsuit will have little, if any, effect on people's use of Google or YouTube. Google knows that Viacom needs an outlet for its content like the other content providers. The two will eventually strike a deal. The only question remaining will be whether it will be more to Viacom's terms or Google's terms.

8:17 pm on Mar 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I think the Safe Harbor is great for community sites but am I the only one that sees a huge difference between MySpace and YouTube in this regard? If someone posts copyrighted material on MySpace a) it will cause limited damage and b) the success of myspace is not predicated on the (wink/nod) upload of this material. Perhaps not by policy but by the nature of the beast, YouTube systemicatically supports and encourages use of copyrighted material and result in fewer people tuning in to watch that material on TV. This directly impacts the revenues of Viacom. How is this any better than Spyware redirecting affiliate links with their own IDs to take your affiliate commissions? They're basically eating Viacom's lunch off their own material, and without asking any permissions. I cannot imagine MySpace having any such effect on the profits of Viacom.

I recently heard that the reason some restaurants no longer sing Happy Birthday is because they'd have to pay royalties on it every time they sang it apparently. And, did you know each time a song is played in a restaurant, that needs to be reported to ASCAP/BMI and results in a small royalty too? Enter YouTube - the one entity completely void of these responsibilities and its suppose to be ok for them because of the Safe Harbor? In that case, I think I'll start an online TV network this week and just start showing whatever shows I feel like and keep all the profits myself. Why bother paying licesning or royalties for the material? I'll just create a little "commuinty" somewhere on the site to discuss recent episodes and bingo. I'm covered. ;-)

YouTube is blatantly in violation of here and the use of safe harbor is rediculous in this case. Even though I own a community site, I hope they have to pay the piper on this one. I'm personally sick of watching Google & co get rich off of all my hard work. The apparent attitude from the Googleplex is that intellectual property doesn't exist and is simply material to be exploited for their own gain. It is time to see so lines be drawn here.

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