NEW YORK - (Mealey's) A "general awareness"
of infringing activity on its Web site is not sufficient to find YouTube Inc.
guilty of any copyright infringement claims, a New York federal judge ruled
June 23, granting the online video-sharing service's motion for summary
judgment that it qualifies for safe harbor under the Digital Millennium
Copyright Act (DMCA) (Viacom International Inc., et al. v. YouTube Inc., et
al., Nos. 1:07-cv-02103 and 1:07-cv-03582; S.D. N.Y.; See April 2010, Page
March 2007, Viacom International Inc. and related companies (collectively,
Viacom) sued YouTube in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of
New York, claiming "rampant infringement" by its users' posting of copyrighted
materials. Claiming that YouTube
encouraged and profited from such infringing postings, Viacom claimed direct
and secondary copyright infringement by YouTube and sought damages of $1
billion. YouTube countered that it
cannot be held liable for any infringement that has occurred on its site
because it is an Internet services provider and, therefore, is immune under the
DMCA, asserting that it has consistently removed any allegedly infringing
content for which copyright holders have filed a DMCA takedown notice.
the evidence shows that YouTube promptly removed any allegedly infringing
material on its Web site upon receiving notice from copyright holders, Judge
Louis L. Stanton found that YouTube was protected from liability under the
Stanton ruled that "if a service provider knows (from notice from the owner, or
a 'red flag') of specific instances of infringement, the provider must promptly
remove the infringing material. If not,
the burden is on the owner to identify the infringement. General knowledge that the infringement is 'ubiquitous'
does not impose a duty on the service provider to monitor or search its service
Note: Full coverage will be in the July
issue of Mealey'sTM Litigation Report:
Cyber Tech & E-Commerce. In
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