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Court Orders YouTube to Hand Over Complete User Logs to Viacom

Viacom, if you recall, filed a $1 billion lawsuit against YouTube not too long ago.  As part of the lawsuit, a court as now ordered Google to turn over a complete log of all users’ activities to Viacom.  These logs would include such things as usernames, IP addresses, and videos that each account has viewed in the past. 

Viacom claims that they want to use this information to prove their arguement that videos infringing on copyrights get significantly more traffic than user-generated, legal content.  Should Viacom be able to prove this, penalties could stack up against YouTube if they are found guilty of contributory copyright infringement.

Viacom has also required YouTube to turn over source code for the site’s search engine and copyright video filter, as well as copies of all videos marked “private”, and copies of Google’s advertisement database schema.  US District Judge Louis Stanton is presiding over the case, and while he approved the request to hand over user logs, all these other requests were denied.  However, YouTube will have to show information on how private videos are used, including how many times they were watched and who watched them.

The logs which Google has been ordered to turn over to Viacom amount to 12 terabytes of data in total.  Google argued against sharing this information, indicating that it would constitute a massive breach of user privacy and place an undue burden on the company. 

Viacom initially filed the lawsuit against Google in 2007.  In their filings, they claim that YouTube users have viewed over 160,000 unauthorized, illegal clips owned by Viacom.  Furthermore, they believe that YouTube’s business model is “based on building traffic and selling advertising off unlicensed content.”

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6 thoughts on “Court Orders YouTube to Hand Over Complete User Logs to Viacom

  1. In the first paragraph you said the court ordered Google to turn over the records. I didn’t know Google owned YouTube.

    Are they going to go after the users who viewed the videos, I wonder?

    Napster, now YouTube. What’s next? As for the IP addresses, that’s not going to give them an accurate record. IP numbers, for a lot of the ISPs, are rotated between users. And what about the Wi-Fi hot spots? Can’t track users there.

    Next, they’ll want Google to turn over all our information for their search engine to see if we’ve viewed copyrighted material in our search requests.

  2. My biggest concern is that the ones making the laws and handing out court decisions are the ones that have the least amount of understanding…

    Also, if I dub a CD on an cassette tape (like I did when I was 8) does the company who produces the cassette get sued?