Appeals Court Hears Arguments in Viacom, YouTube Copyright Case

Oct 18, 2011 - LegalZoom News Sources
YouTube and Viacom have begun making their case to an appeals court regarding a long-running copyright dispute.

On October 18, a federal appeals court in New York City began hearing oral arguments in a long-running copyright infringement case between media giant Viacom and internet file-sharing site YouTube.

Viacom originally filed the lawsuit in 2007, alleging that YouTube users routinely posted videos of Viacom's copyrighted works, such as "The Daily Show with John Stewart." Viacom sought $1 billion in damages. In 2010, a judge ruled in favor of Google, which owns YouTube, stating the company could not be held liable for the actions of its users because it instituted a system for identifying and removing offending material.

Speaking before the appeals court on October 18, YouTube representatives reiterated that the site responds to reports of copyright infringement by removing videos, which protects it from liability under the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Bloomberg reported.

Viacom took issue with YouTube's assertions, saying the site "willfully" displays copyrighted materials, according to Bloomberg. The media company contends that YouTube executives are glad users post pirated materials, as it drives up the site's traffic, reported The Associated Press.

In August, YouTube's system for processing reports of copyright infringement came under scrutiny when it temporarily removed Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga clips after a user fraudulently claimed to own the copyrights on them.