YouTube Dodges Copyright Bullet
Viacom had sued for a cool billion dollars in 2007, claiming 100,000 of its videos were on YouTube and that Google didn't do enough to correct the problem. Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, websites are required to take down wrongly uploaded material when notified by the copyright holder.
The judge noted that when Viacom notified Google of the 100,000 problems, Google removed them all the next day. "The present case shows that the DMCA notification regime works efficiently," the judge wrote.
Google called the ruling "a victory for the internet and for the people who use it." Viacom demurred, saying "copyright protection is essential to the survival of a creative industry."
Viacom seems to be surviving OK. And the issue in this case is now largely irrelevant, with Google having added a Content ID filtering system in 2008.
Interestingly, when we went to YouTube fishing for an illustration, we found a huge banner ad for Grown Ups, the new Adam Sandler movie. OK, it was from Sony Pictures, not Viacom-owned Paramount. But it seems that at least some studios have made their peace with YouTube and are willing to pay for the eyeballs of its vast video streaming audience. The ad even included links to clips from the movie.
See The New York Times.