UPDATE: After besting Viacom for the second time in three years in the multi-million copyright infringement suit the media giant brought against them, Google released this statement today:
The court correctly rejected Viacom’s lawsuit against YouTube, reaffirming that Congress got it right when it comes to copyright on the Internet. This is a win not just for YouTube, but for people everywhere who depend on the Internet to exchange ideas and information. – Kent Walker, Senior Vice President & General Counsel, Google
PREVIOUSLY, 2:53 PM: Even though it suffered the second loss in three years on the same multimillion-dollar copyright suit against YouTube, Viacom today said it plans to appeal the latest ruling against it. “This ruling ignores the opinions of the higher courts and completely disregards the rights of creative artists. We continue to believe that a jury should weigh the facts of this case and the overwhelming evidence that YouTube willfully infringed on our rights, and we intend to appeal the decision,” said the company in a statement after a U.S. District court judge in New York granted YouTube yet another favorable summary judgment today. “The Clerk shall enter judgment that defendants are protected by the safe-harbor provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act from all of plaintiffs’ copyright infringement claims and accordingly dismissing the complaint, the costs and disbursements to defendants according to law,” Judge Louise Stanton wrote Thursday (read it here).
Even with plans to appeal, this second verse sounds a lot like the first. Viacom lost a previous summary judgment in the case back in July 2010 on the suit, which it instigated in 2007. Among its many provisions, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act offers legal protection from liability to an unwitting website from infringement that its users may perform. Almost two years later, the plaintiffs then got a second swing at the video-sharing website thanks to the Appeals Court in April of last year ruling that YouTube hadn’t adequately proven it was actually entitled to the protection of the DMCA. The Appeals Court also noted it believed that in fact YouTube did know its users were putting up Viacom-owned material on the site. Unfortunately for Viacom, the judge, who delivered a similar ruling back in 2010, thought the system worked just fine and that YouTube had done all it needs to do in this case. “In 2007 Viacom itself gave such notice to YouTube of infringements by some 100,000 videos, which were taken down by YouTube by the next business day. Thus, the burden of showing that YouTube knew or was aware of the specific infringements of the works in suit cannot be shifted to YouTube to disprove,” Stanton noted in the ruling.
Six years after Viacom and others first filed the suit the fact is nowadays YouTube is an important component in the promotion of any media company’s properties – including Viacom. Today’s ruling comes just over two weeks after YouTube asked the judge in court to toss the case. “Once Viacom’s flawed view of the law is rejected, the existing record establishes that YouTube is entitled to summary judgment on the applicability of the DMCA safe harbor with respect to all of Viacom’s clips-in-suit,” YouTube’s lawyers said on April 2. Viacom is represented by former Solicitor General Theodore Olson as well as his colleague Matthew McGilll of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher. Paul Smith, William Hohengarten, Scott Wilkens, Matthew Hellman and Susan J. Kohlmann of Jenner & Block are also working for the company as is Stuart J. Baskin of Shearman and Sterling. YouTube/Google is represented by Andrew H. Schapiro of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan as well as by David H. Kramer, Michael H. Rubin and Bart E. Volkmer of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati and by A. John P. Mancini and Brian M. Willen of Mayer Brown.