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YouTube Beats Viacom In Copyright Suit (Again); Viacom To Appeal (Again)
To borrow a famous quote from Yogi Berra: It’s like deja vu all over again.
YouTube beat Viacom again today in the long-running copyright battle the two have waged, and Viacom is again saying that it plans to appeal the ruling. The Hollywood Reporter broke the news and has posted the court’s decision, too.
In today’s ruling, Judge Louis Stanton — who also ruled in YouTube’s favor back in 2010 — wrote that “the burden of showing that YouTube knew or was aware of the specific infringements of the works in the suit cannot be shifted to YouTube to disprove.” That’s a fundamental concept of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) — the burden of proof is on the party complaining of copyright infringement.
Viacom responded in a brief blog post today, saying it plans to appeal this latest decision:
This ruling ignores the opinions of the higher courts and completely disregards the rights of creative artists. We continue to believe that a jury should weigh the facts of this case and the overwhelming evidence that YouTube willfully infringed on our rights, and we intend to appeal the decision.
Viacom first sued YouTube in 2007, claiming copyright infringement because YouTube users had posted thousands of clips from Viacom-owned programs. Google/YouTube won a summary judgment in June 2010 when Judge Stanton first ruled that the DMCA’s “safe harbor provisions” protect Google from copyright claims over the activity of its users. Viacom appealed that decision in December 2010; in 2012, a U.S. appellate court abandoned the original ruling.