July 7, 2008

House Lights: Whatever Viacom wants, Viacom gets

By now, some of you may have learned that Viacom won a huge fight last week against Google, which owns both Blogger and YouTube.

At the heart of Viacom's complaints:, as per eFluxMedia, et.al.:

According to the court order, Viacom gets the right to access usernames, IP addresses and videos watched by YouTube users, in order to prove that videos that infringe copyrights are the most watched, and that YouTube is a website that deliberately supports copyright infringement.

There has also been some speculation that such data could be used to launch lawsuits against individual uses, as the Recording Industry Association of America has carried out in recent years.

Viacom has claimed it has records of more than 150,000 short video clips unlawfully extracted from its highly popular TV shows and posted on YouTube. Given the conglomerate's numerous holdings — Paramount, MTV Networks (Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, VH1 et.al.), Showtime Networks, and (despite a public "split" a while back) CBS — it's quite clear that they would view user video sharing as a threat to their way of doing business.

Viacom could, of course, make more of their video available for embedding into blogs (as they have done with Comedy Central's The Daily Show and The Colbert Report) if they want to.

But that wouldn't generate as much press coverage as a court case.

Speaking of which, it took two days for Newsday to pick up the story. But how many TV or radio newscasts ran a report on the Viacom vs. Google battle? Did yours? Or was it pre–empted by those celebrity marriage bust–ups?

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