Court Orders YouTube to Hand Over Complete User Logs to Viacom

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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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