Viacom Files Appeal in $1B Copyright Suit Against Google, YouTube

Media giant wants lower court ruling overturned

Last Updated: December 3, 2010 @ 11:49 AM

As promised, Viacom filed an appeal in its $1 billion copyright case against Google and YouTube on Friday, asking a federal appeals court in New York on Friday to reverse a lower court's decision that sided with the search giant.

In June, a judge found the Google's prompt removal of copyrighted material on YouTube nullified Viacom's argument.

The judge granted Google’s motion for summary judgment in the case, effectively ruling in favor of YouTube’s contention that it should be protected by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) in cases of copyright infringement.

“We believe that this ruling by the lower court is fundamentally flawed and contrary to the language of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, the intent of Congress, and the views of the Supreme Court as expressed in its most recent decisions,” Viacom said after losing the initial case, vowing to appeal.

Google’s lawyer called the June decision “an important victory not just for us, but also for the billions of people around the world who use the web to communicate and share experiences with each other.”

Whether or not Viacom’s appeal is successful could have enormous implications on user-generated content — and not just the cat videos.

“[This] isn't just about YouTube," David Sohn, senior counsel at the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Democracy & Technology, said in response to the June ruling.  "Without this decision, user generated content would dry up and the Internet would cease to be a participatory medium."

Interestingly, the filing comes a day after Google announced that it is stepping up its enforcement of copyrights on YouTube, vowing to remove copyrighted material within 24 hours of a complaint.