Viacom Claims YouTube “Was Intentionally Built on Infringement”

Posted Mar 19, 2010

Viacom, the parent company of brands such as MTV, VH1, Comedy Central, Spike TV, etc. filed a lawsuit against Google shortly after they acquired YouTube.  Within the last 24 hours, legal documents in the copyright infringement lawsuit against YouTube by Viacom were made public.  Below is a statement that Viacom released []:

YouTube was intentionally built on infringement and there are countless internal YouTube communications demonstrating that YouTube?s founders and its employees intended to profit from that infringement. By their own admission, the site contained ?truckloads? of infringing content and founder Steve Chen explained that YouTube needed to ?steal? videos because those videos make ?our traffic soar.?

Google bought YouTube because it was a haven of infringement. Google knew that YouTube?s popularity depended on infringing materials with several senior Google executives warning that YouTube was a ?rogue enabler of content theft.? Instead of complying with the law, Google willfully and knowingly chose to continue YouTube?s illegal practices.

Google and YouTube had the technology to stop infringement at any time but deliberately chose not to use it. They would only offer to protect Viacom?s content if Viacom agreed to license those works, effectively holding copyright protection as ransom for a license.

The law is clear that Google and YouTube are liable for their infringement. The Supreme Court unanimously held in Grokster that a service that intends infringement is liable for that infringement. No case has ever suggested that the DMCA immunizes rampant intentional infringement of the sort Google and YouTube have engaged in.

These facts are undisputed. The statements by Google regarding Viacom activities are merely red herrings and have no relevance on the legal facts of this case.