YouTube Should Appeal To A Higher Court

Posted Jul 3, 2008

Viacom, Inc. (NYSE:VIA.B) has won a court case against Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.  Senior Judge, Louis L. Stanton ruled that Google must give Viacom private user data.  This will include the IP addresses, the videos watch, and the videos uploaded by uever YouTube user.

Viacom plans on using this data to prove that copyright infringement is more popular on YouTube than user-generated content.  The lawsuit began in 2007 when Viacom decided to sue Google for $1 billion shortly after the search engine company acquired YouTube.

Viacom also requested for YouTube’s source code, but fortunately the judge said no to that request.  The judge ruled that providing YouTube’s source code to Viacom could ?cause catastrophic competitive harm to Google by sharing them with others who might create their own programs without making the same investment.?

“The court?s order grants Viacom’s request and erroneously ignores the protections of the federal Video Privacy Protection Act (VPPA), and threatens to expose deeply private information about what videos are watched by YouTube users,” stated Kurt Opsahl of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “The VPPA passed after a newspaper disclosed Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork’s video rental records. As Congress recognized, your selection of videos to watch is deeply personal and deserves the strongest protection.”

If Google decides to comply with this decision and not appeal to a higher court, then the privacy of all 80 million+ YouTube users are compromised.  TechCrunch also pointed out that the decision made in the New York court could be in violation of federal law.  What will happen next?  Stay tuned to Pulse 2.0.

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