Google Fights Back in Viacom/YouTube Copyright Suit

When Viacom sued Google in March for $1 billion as a result of alleged copyright infringement on YouTube, it accused Google of building a business on the backs of content owners, and turning a blind eye to the infringement. has posted a copy of Google’s response (PDF), filed this week with the U.S. District Court in New York. In it, Google denies all of the allegations, and claims protection under the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) Safe Harbors and fair use:

Viacom’s complaint in this action challenges the careful balance established by Congress when it enacted the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The DMCA balances the rights of copyright holders and the need to protect the internet as an important new form of communication. By seeking to make carriers and hosting providers liable for Internet communications, Viacom’s complaint threatens the way hundreds of millions of people legitimately exchange information, news, entertainment, and political and artistic expression. Google and YouTube respect the importance of intellectual property rights, and not only comply with their safe harbor obligations under the DMCA, but go well above and beyond what the law requires.

Michael Kwun, managing counsel for litigation at Google, told and others in a briefing yesterday, “”There is a certain irony to the lawsuit. Viacom and others…were at the table when the DMCA was adopted. These are the very people who helped design this law. They are getting material taken down quickly and yet, suddenly, they don’t want to live with the other end of the deal.”

Viacom, in turn, said, “This response ignores the most important fact of the suit, which is that YouTube does not qualify for safe harbor protection under the DMCA. It is obvious that YouTube has knowledge of infringing material on their site and they are profiting from it. It is simply not credible that a company whose mission is to organize the world’s information claims that it can’t find what’s on YouTube.”

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