Google Says Viacom Lawsuit Against YouTube Threatens Freedom

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According to Google Inc., a $1 billion copyright infringement lawsuit brought against YouTube by Viacom Inc. threatens to drastically alter the way hundreds of millions of people share all kinds of information on the Internet.  The claim was made in papers filed in the U.S. District Court in Manhattan, as Google responded to Viacom’s latest lawsuit which claims that the Internet has led to an “explosion of copyright infringement” by the likes of YouTube and others.

Viacom first brought a lawsuit against Google last year, demanding damages for the unauthorized viewing of programming content from Comedy Central, MTV, and other networks.  Google has long claimed to be in compliance with the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act, however Viacom believes that they’ve set a bad example.

Viacom submitted a rewritten lawsuit last month, and in it claim that YouTube consistenly allows users to post authorized copies of popular TV shows and movies on the site, which are subsequently viewed tens of thousands of times.  According to Viacom, they have identified more than 150,000 clips of copyrighted programming content, which they say represent merely a fraction of the content on YouTube which violates copyright laws.

Google submitted papers to a judge late on Friday, in which they claim that YouTube “goes far beyond its legal obligations in assisting content owners to protect their works.” Furthermore, Google says the act of seeking to make carriers and hosting providers liable for Internet communications, Viacom “…threatens the way hundreds of millions of people legitimately exchange information, news, entertainment and political expression.”

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