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YouTube Hands Private User Data to Studio Lawyers

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YouTube Hands Private User Data to Studio Lawyers

When registering with a web portal, social network or search engine, privacy is always a concern since the companies one registers with are tracking large chunk of your online activity and lifestyle choices; especially as companies such as MySpace, Yahoo and Google try harder and harder to emulate life in their online offerings.

Recently Yahoo and Google have come under the privacy microscope due to their compliance or reluctance to work with world governments who are attempting to use such private data to prevent illegal activities. One such company to recently get a lot of press as the most recent massive search media company acquisition is YouTube. And yes, YouTube is not operating without privacy controversies itself.

YouTube complied with a court order to turn over such private information to Paramount Pictures. MarketWatch reports:

YouTube’s actions in response to a subpoena it received in May show that it has been keeping tabs on users who post copyrighted material to its site — and in one case shared the name of a user with lawyers from a Hollywood film studio.

On May 24, lawyers for Viacom Inc.’s Paramount Pictures convinced a federal judge in San Francisco to issue a subpoena requiring YouTube to turn over details about a user who uploaded dialog from the movie studio’s “Twin Towers,” according to a copy of the document.

YouTube promptly handed over the data to Paramount, which on June 16 sued the creator of the 12-minute clip, New York City-based filmmaker Chris Moukarbel, for copyright infringement, in federal court in Washington.

In order to protect itself and its users, YouTube is now signing content distribution deals with major labels and entertainment studios which will let its users edit footage and upload copyright protected music to their videos. But after the Google acquisition and this lawsuit, one has to wonder if the rougue filmmakers on the circuit who enjoy splicing copyrighted material into their pieces will ditch YouTube for another company. This quote may, infact, mirror the indset of that said subculture : ‘I was happy to utilize YouTube when it was still not clearly established. It felt a bit utopian, even though the days for that were clearly numbered.’ – Chris Moukarbel

Perhaps such an exodus from YouTube will be a blessing in disguise for the soon to be Google company, which surely does not need anymore legal headaches.

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Loren Baker

Loren Baker is the Founder of SEJ, an Advisor at Alpha Brand Media and runs Foundation Digital, a digital marketing ... [Read full bio]

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