Google gives Viacom a good kicking

Big Content has just had a huge set back in its witch hunt against people it thinks are pirates after Google gave Viacom a huge kicking.

The IT industry has been waiting with baited breath to see if Viacom could succeed in bringing a piracy rap against YouTube. If it did, then basically US entertainment interests would have control of the world wide wibble.

Normally in P2P cases, big content has had an easy ride, slapping huge fines on people it did not like, however Google has a lot more money.

Yesterday a robbed but not wigged one granted Google’s motion for summary judgement, finding that the company had taken sufficient steps to deal with infringing content to meet the safe harbor requirements of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

Google VP and general counsel Kent Walker said it was “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.”

Viacom later told the Wall Street Journal that it would definitely appeal. It has claimed that Google executives knowingly allowed copyrighted content to persist on YouTube as a means of ensuring the site’s popularity.

However legal eagles claim that Viacom’s appeal could take years and until that time, “this becomes the latest high-water mark in user-caused copyright infringement cases.”

It effectively gives the blessing to the status quo which allows ISPs to get out of being sued by taking down copyrighted content fast enough under DMCA safe harbor protections.

The ruling is the complete opposite to a recent Italian court’s ruling which said that the take-down procedures were full of holes.

A Milanese judge convicted three Google executives of privacy law violations for failing to quickly remove an offensive video posted to YouTube’s Italian site.

While the Italian case involves privacy rather than copyright law, there were some similarities in that they both rested on the amount of vigilance that internet content hosts are expected to exercise over user-submitted content.