This is one story which has not been getting nearly enough publicity. Which is suprising, it seems to have been going on for a while.
Cut a long story short: Viacom tried to sue Youtube owners’ Google for $1 billion due to copywrite issues.
What happens, is that on youtube, as most know, people upload videos of things they like. So that would mean South Park snippets and clips from The Hills, would be shared by kids, and Viacom would take them down. Simples you would think, right? Wrong!
Who Are They?
Viacom are a huge corporation, which owns many brands, such as Comedy Central, MTV, VH1, Spike TV, Paramount Pictures, Nikelodeon, Neopets, and many more well know brands.
Google is primarily a search engine, which is the most used search engine on the Web. Google also provides an online office suite called Google.docs, and owns, video sharing site, Youtube,
Well, as said above Viacom accused Youtube of knowingly uploading copywrited material, and then profiting from it. Youtube says this did not happen, as there was no way they could moniter ALLLLL the content that gets uploaded. This all happened in 2007, when Viacom said that 16, 000 videos had infringed their copywrite and were deleted. It has since been said that:
1) only 3,000 videos included copywrite infringement, as it is stated by US law
2)almost 120,000 videos were infact removed by Viacom.
Anyways in 2007 Viacom started procedures to sue Google for $1,000,000,000, because of the damage this infringement had.
There is no love lost at all between Google and Viacom. In 2008, MTV.com posted almost every music video ever made onto its site, an obvious attempt to get Googles back up. This kind of failed, as to date, Youtube is still the most popular way to watch music videos.
So other than music videos, what else is Youtube reknown for? Viral videos. You know, the videos that you revieve in emails, and are posted on every site under the sun. The one that has about 22 million views? Yep, that one. These viral videos are (as in still happening) stolen from youtube, and magically appear on Spike.com. Spike is another video sharing site, which also shows premium content such as UFC events, but this site is owned by Viacom. Well, the videos appear on Spike as being embed, which is when you can post the whole video on a site. Now, Youtube has no issue with this, in fact it promotes sharing videos in this way. The only rules are, that you cannot edit the HTML code, because the video MUST link back to Youtube (fair enough). Well when the Youtube video appears on Spike, it DOES NOT link back to youtube. These are popular actual youtube videos just embed onto Spike, and there are no link backs at all, or any credit to the original video’s maker. So therefore, this breaks Youtubes T&Cs, and the original author is NEVER notified.
Note: in Spike.com T&Cs they say EVERY VIDEO is checked before it is posted.
So how can Viacom cry about Copywrite, when they dismiss others’ rights so willingly?
And, this does go into somewhat murkier waters. There is proof from various Youtube users, saying that there are fake Youtube channels set up, where they post things such as South Park clips. They then block their own clips. Why? To show that Youtube is allowing copywrited material onto their site. It is a very mean trick. And basically attempting to use dirty tricks, to sink Youtube and Google.
But that’s not all, now other ‘powers-that-be’ from the internet, have sided with Google in this battle. Yep, usually they may not be best of friends, but Facebook, Yahoo, ebay and IAC (InterActiveCorp) have all sided with Google. Basically saying that if Viacom are successful in sueing Google, it will effect the freedom of the internet. This has to be a good side, as I do believe that this will hopefully stop this war.