March 13, 2007
According to the Wall St. Journal, Viacom filed suit today, and released the following statement:
“YouTube is a significant, for-profit organization that has built a lucrative business out of exploiting the devotion of fans to others’ creative works in order to enrich itself and its corporate parent Google. Their business model, which is based on building traffic and selling advertising off of unlicensed content, is clearly illegal and is in obvious conflict with copyright laws. In fact, YouTube’s strategy has been to avoid taking proactive steps to curtail the infringement on its site, thus generating significant traffic and revenues for itself while shifting the entire burden — and high cost — of monitoring YouTube onto the victims of its infringement.
This behavior stands in stark contrast to the actions of other significant distributors, who have recognized the fair value of entertainment content and have concluded agreements to make content legally available to their customers around the world.
There is no question that YouTube and Google are continuing to take the fruit of our efforts without permission and destroying enormous value in the process. This is value that rightfully belongs to the writers, directors and talent who create it and companies like Viacom that have invested to make possible this innovation and creativity.
After a great deal of unproductive negotiation, and remedial efforts by ourselves and other copyright holders, YouTube continues in its unlawful business model. Therefore, we must turn to the courts to prevent Google and YouTube from continuing to steal value from artists and to obtain compensation for the significant damage they have caused.”
The gist of the suit is that, while YouTube takes efforts to filter and remove certain “inappropriate” content, YouTube deliberately does not take similar efforts with respect to copyrighted materials, (since keeping that content up is in YouTube’s interest) instead leaving the onus on copyright holders to find copright violations and then request that they be taken down.
The complaint itself is included below.
Will be interesting to hear GooTube’s response…