If you didn't know, for a while now Google has been the center of a lawsuit from Viacom over YouTube - they are seeking over $1 billion in damages for their content being on the site, and have argued that YouTube is essentially a huge version of Napster - a music sharing service shut down a few years ago.
In a report from AllThingsD today, Google won the lawsuit that Viacom had launched, and Viacom promised to appeal the federal court ruling saying that:
"We believe that this ruling by the lower court is fundamentally flawed and contrary to the language of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, the intent of Congress, and the views of the Supreme Court as expressed in its most recent decisions. We intend to seek to have these issues before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit as soon as possible. After years of delay, this decision gives us the opportunity to have the Appellate Court address these critical issues on an accelerated basis. We look forward to the next stage of the process."
According to the report, Google won the lawsuit because of the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) law created way back in 1998 grants them "safe habour" because they "don’t know about specific copyright violations," and will "fix copyright violations when they learn about them". Since YouTube is predominantly user content, and they take down clips if copyright holders complain, they are in clear, U.S. District Court Judge Louis Stanton said.
Google also released a statement Wednesday saying that:
"Today, the court granted our motion for summary judgment in Viacom’s lawsuit with YouTube. This means that the court has decided that YouTube is protected by the safe harbor of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) against claims of copyright infringement. The decision follows established judicial consensus that online services like YouTube are protected when they work cooperatively with copyright holders to help them manage their rights online.
This is an important victory not just for us, but also for the billions of people around the world who use the web to communicate and share experiences with each other. We’re excited about this decision and look forward to renewing our focus on supporting the incredible variety of ideas and expression that billions of people post and watch on YouTube every day around the world."
Provided that Viacom can't have the ruling overturned, it's a huge victory for media sharing websites such as YouTube who use the DMCA as defense in lawsuits.