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Viacom Vs. YouTube, Beyond Privacy

CmdrTaco posted more than 6 years ago | from the well-isn't-that-special dept.

Privacy 197

Corrupt writes "As Viacom is granted access to YouTube user records, a bigger threat to user-generated sites emerges: The law is increasingly siding with rights owners."

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Hmm (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24164581)

The "law" is increasingly siding with "rights owners."

So?

Re:Hmm (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24164647)

One page version of the article. [businessweek.com]

You'd have thought Taco would be linking to the print version whenever possible by now...

Re:Hmm (5, Insightful)

Merls the Sneaky (1031058) | more than 6 years ago | (#24164671)

The "law" is increasingly siding with "rights owners."

So?

So the law should be neutral, it should not side with either party. Thats how you are supposed to get fair rulings.

Re:Hmm (1, Interesting)

DiarmuidBourke (910868) | more than 6 years ago | (#24164763)

The "law" is increasingly siding with "rights owners."

So?

So the law should be neutral, it should not side with either party. Thats how you are supposed to get fair rulings.

mod parent up. The law should always be neutral.

Re:Hmm (5, Informative)

lazyDog86 (1191443) | more than 6 years ago | (#24164825)

I disagree strongly. The "law" is always picking winners and losers. Often we all agree: muggers should be the losers and their victims should be the "winners," albeit not the best win you'll ever get seeing a guy who robbed you sent to prison. It's the best the legal system can do for you.

But, as you get into more commercial areas, the law is picking winners and losers all of the time in ways that there is not so much general agreement as to who the winners and losers should be, often skewing things in favor of existing players. I meant who writes the law? Politicians. And, as near as I can figure, it's axiomatic here on /. that they're all as corrupt as humanly possible. So the "law" favors whoever gives them the most money.

Now I do tend to agree with you that we still do a pretty good job when it comes to the adjudication of the law that judges should be, and are usually neutral. And they with usually result in fair rulings under the law. But the laws were written by politicians and that is the problem.

Re:Hmm (5, Insightful)

Doctor_Jest (688315) | more than 6 years ago | (#24164953)

I should think that the law is what it is... it does not choose sides, favor one party over another, nor does it pick "winners and losers." It exists. It provides a baseline, a boundary if you will, from which a blind justice system works its magic.

The court system is set up that (ideally) you are innocent until proven guilty, you have a right to a speedy and public trial, and you are not required to incriminate yourself. (And not taking the stand doesn't admit guilt or innocence... SO many jurors need that hit into their heads with a big hammer.) Yes, things have come to pass that call those things into question, but for the most part, we're _supposed_ to get that regardless of our accusations or status in society.

The cases that we see the most abuse of the built-in legal fairness (that's taken many hundreds of years to get "stuck"... and should not be taken lightly) are when a "vested" interest (i.e. an entity with loads of cash) dictates the "reasonable" tests and information requests that usually precede a case. (We can see examples of this with the MPAA/RIAA, and now Viacom.) We also see this as an issue in terms of criminal cases where the defendant is loaded to the gills with disposable income. So, I'm guessing that "money" (in all its forms) is the factor in our legal system that makes the law "choose", and creates inequality.

What we need is many improvements, but you get the gist of the problem with this case w/r/t Viacom. The only difference here is Google's got a stack of cash that is probably making Viacom have a wicked case penis envy. :)

You are correct, in that the laws are written these days with the built-in bias favoring the last asshole who gave said politician cash (Fritz Hollings was a crystal clear example of appeasing his greatest benefactor, and that sure as shit wasn't the people of South Carolina.)

The court system is supposed to have a built in filter for the abuse, but it appears we are missing the primary component to fix the problem (lawyers need to stop looking at the money and start redeeming themselves for centuries of ass-reaming and start CHALLENGING the unconstitutional and pathetically biased laws that get passed.) Trouble is, they are on the take just as much as those who write the laws. So if we can't get the unfit law _to_ the court, we can't rely on the court to strike it down. And in recent days, obviously unconstitutional laws are a hit and miss affair. (some getting their just desserts, while others are still there and bloody well sanctioned by SCOTUS).

I apologize for the rambling... but I haven't eaten breakfast yet. ;)
     

Re:Hmm (2, Informative)

KGIII (973947) | more than 6 years ago | (#24165497)

Just a bit of additional information/clarification. Viacom is a member of the MPAA. (Paramount Pictures Viacom.)

Re:Hmm (1)

Doctor_Jest (688315) | more than 6 years ago | (#24165883)

Yes indeed... hence the underlying problem. ;) But that's to be understood, given their distasteful rhetoric...

Re:Hmm (2, Insightful)

lazyDog86 (1191443) | more than 6 years ago | (#24165897)

Well, I would say just a couple of things here. First as to the point of view that the law simply exists, I don't believe that is true. My point was that laws are written by men (you may exclude the Ten Commandments if you are so inclined without too much damage to my argument) and men are fundamentally political animals and, as such, are well aware that they are picking winners and losers when they write such laws. Saying the law simply exists denies this dynamic nature of it, particularly dynamic are certainly intellectual property issues surrounding internet technology.

And second, in what I'll grant is a little more of a quibble, there is no presumption of innocence in this sort of commercial claim. The courts (certainly the US courts, and I believe this to be a typical worldwide standard) do not begin with a presumption that the defendant did not steal the plaintiff's property. Each party has any equal barrier to proving his point. Whoever presents a better case wins. Surely that is a fair in this sort of case.

Re:Hmm (2, Informative)

Trailer Trash (60756) | more than 6 years ago | (#24165407)

I meant who writes the law? Politicians. And, as near as I can figure, it's axiomatic here on /. that they're all as corrupt as humanly possible. So the "law" favors whoever gives them the most money.

It's worse than that. The media company lawyers wrote the DMCA, and greased the right politicians to get it passed. It's funny that they're now angry that their own law apparently wasn't enough for them.

Politicians rarely write these big laws. They're written by special interests and given to their own bought & paid for congressmen to pass.

Re:Hmm (5, Insightful)

strabes (1075839) | more than 6 years ago | (#24164841)

Perhaps it should have read "the law is more frequently deciding in favor of rights holders."

Re:Hmm (2, Interesting)

Tjebbe (36955) | more than 6 years ago | (#24165595)

you know, i actually read 'rights owners' in the original line as the users. Where did their rights go?

Re:Hmm (1, Flamebait)

Toll_Free (1295136) | more than 6 years ago | (#24165075)

Yeah, I was going to respond with something, pointing out the stupidity of the article.

OMG, the law is siding with existing laws.

And if you pirate something, you should be held accountable. Just as if you steal something from a storeshelf, you should be held accountable.

In other news, the sun rose this morning. Expected to set within the next 24 hours in most parts of the world. Film at 11.

--Toll_Free

Re:Hmm (2, Informative)

AceofSpades19 (1107875) | more than 6 years ago | (#24165547)

copy right infringement != stealing

Re:Hmm (1)

phats garage (760661) | more than 6 years ago | (#24165797)

copyright infringement is stealing someone elses exclusive publishing rights. If you publish something without permission, you diminish what the authorized publisher gets by being an authorized publisher, most noticably, their chance at making sales.

Re:Hmm (2, Informative)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | more than 6 years ago | (#24165981)

copyright infringement is stealing someone elses exclusive publishing rights.

You can't steal someones rights. You can only steal property. Copyright is not property (the canard of "intellectual property" notwithstanding).

If you publish something without permission, you diminish what the authorized publisher gets by being an authorized publisher, most noticably, their chance at making sales.

If you set up your widget shop next to mine, you diminish what I get from selling widgets. That doesn't justify my use of force to close you down.

Re:Hmm (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24165243)

No, it should indeed side with whoever is in the legal right.

The correct criticism is that these people shouldn't have been granted (yes granted, these aren't natural rights or natural persons) such sweeping legal rights in the first place! And now you know where to properly place the blame: Congress

Re:Hmm (4, Insightful)

cunamara (937584) | more than 6 years ago | (#24165771)

The law is not neutral. The law is not intended to be neutral. Laws permit or forbid certain forms of conduct according to legal, moral or ethical principles as the case may be. That's not neutral. If the law was neutral and did not side with either party, you would get a ruling based on the proclivity of the judge and not on the law.

The law frequently protects certain people, and one set of such people are the owners of copyrighted content. The law sides with them to prevent the unauthorized duplication of their content. Fair use allows you to make copies for private use, which is the primary exception. Fair use does not and never has provided a right to make copies for others and that includes posting copies of songs, videos, etc. to sites like YouTube. That is illegal and Viacom et al are within their rights to go after that illegal distribution of their content.

Slashdotters, otherwise generally intelligent, have a subset who are unable to see this for what it is and believe that copyright should not be respected. Consider that there are tens of thousands of illegal clips posted to YouTube, the cumulative financial effect of which could conceivably be millions of dollars. Viacom and other content owners are within their rights to get those taken down and to consider pursuing prosecution against the people who posted them.

The interesting thing is the issue of fining YouTube, eBay etc. is whether these Web sites are common carriers or not. The phone company is not held responsible for the content of phone calls nor is the Post Office held responsible for the contents of packages, because they are common carriers. Is eBay a common carrier? If so, they are not responsible for the sale of knockoffs on their Web sites. Ditto YouTube. This could conceivably end up in the Supreme Court for final adjudication because it is a critical, defining issue- and Google and eBay have the money to go there.

To take the case to the absurd and yet logical conclusion, let's imagine Louis Vitton suing the City of New York because it doesn't stop the same of cheap knockoffs in the subway system, or Viacom trying to get the names from the NYCPD of anyone who bought duped DVDs from the same hucksters. Both would be impossible and yet those are the brick-and-mortar equivalents. In these cases it's a matter of shooting at the easy targets because of the nature of the Internets and IP addresses reducing anonymity.

Re:Hmm (4, Interesting)

Lunarsight (1053230) | more than 6 years ago | (#24166045)

Slashdotters, otherwise generally intelligent, have a subset who are unable to see this for what it is and believe that copyright should not be respected.

It's not so much that we believe that copyright shouldn't be respected, but we also see when the legal system is being blatantly manipulated.

In the case of Viacom, one must ask if they truly need all the data they are asking for, or if a more limited data set would have been sufficient. I think the judge here could have done a better job giving Viacom the tools they needed to make their case without blatantly infringing on the privacy of every Youtube user.

I can't speak for others, but I personally don't trust Viacom with the data they are requesting. Regardless of what stipulations the judge may have put on the usage of the data, I think it creates a dangerous precedent letting them have it. The RIAA has historically been known to bend and break the rules to get what they want - what's to stop Viacom from doing the same?

I work in the healthcare industry, and the general rule of thumb is you give the external party the bare minimum amount of data in order to do what they need to do. Any fields that they don't need - you remove them. It's that simple.

Re:Hmm (1)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | more than 6 years ago | (#24166043)

So the law should be neutral, it should not side with either party. Thats how you are supposed to get fair rulings.

The "law" sides with "rights owners" by creating these "rights" in the first place. There is no natural right to point a gun at me to prevent me from copying a work, it's a completely synthetic right created by government action.

Re:Hmm (1)

rbanffy (584143) | more than 6 years ago | (#24164913)

How about those who own the right to privacy?

Re:Hmm (5, Insightful)

Original Replica (908688) | more than 6 years ago | (#24165223)

How about those who own the right to privacy?

We have lost that right by failing to practice due diligence in protecting it. It's like a right-of-way footpath in the UK. If you let people walk across your land often enough, they develop a legal right to walk across your land. This is what is happening with our privacy; it is being trodden on but we are failing to take effective action to prevent that, so precedent is being set to allow more corporations and government agencies to walk all over our right to privacy.

Now the courts have spoken in regards to our privacy on YouTube, so that particular video sharing sight should be avoided or we should stop talking about a right to privacy because we will have willingly abdicated that right. No you cannot have it both ways. If you have anything posted on YouTube, I suggest you pull it and post it somewhere else. Because this isn't just giving them a footpath over your privacy be over the marketing possibilities of your video IP. If you stay on YouTube, get used to the idea that Viacom will be pinching your ideas if you get good traffic.

Re:Hmm (2, Interesting)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | more than 6 years ago | (#24164949)

The "law" is increasingly siding with "rights owners."

Could be scary... if sites that host other people's speech are liable when that speech isn't allowed (whether for copyright, or libel, or posting classified stuff, or ...) instead of just being required to remove it and possibly ID the poster, it's going to be even more difficult to find online "public" spaces [slashdot.org] that allow free speech, or maybe just harder to find any sort of online "public" space at all.

The importance of YouTube to society (2, Insightful)

jmcbain (1233044) | more than 6 years ago | (#24164979)

YouTube is increasingly important in daily society. This video documentary, ironically enough hosted on YouTube, demonstrates the impact of YouTube [youtube.com] [youtube.com].

The Law... dont give a fuck about you... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24164585)

nuff said. Get Rich, fuck bitches and live above the law.

Heard this before (4, Interesting)

BeerGood (561775) | more than 6 years ago | (#24164591)

Anyone here watch sxephil on YouTube? Now there's an opinion.

Re:Heard this before (2, Interesting)

BeerGood (561775) | more than 6 years ago | (#24164807)

This not offtopic! Watch the video F*CK VIACOM. Someone was pissed about this a week before it was posted on /.

rights owners? (5, Insightful)

v1 (525388) | more than 6 years ago | (#24164595)

The law is increasingly siding with rights owners."

And he who has the bucks tends to be the owner.

Nothing new here?

Re:rights owners? (3, Insightful)

unbug (1188963) | more than 6 years ago | (#24164655)

And the bucks usually go to the ones the law sides with. Resistance is futile!

Re:rights owners? (1)

mi (197448) | more than 6 years ago | (#24164711)

Awful, is not it? What's next — prosecutors siding with the victims?

Re:rights owners? (5, Insightful)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 6 years ago | (#24164817)

Because so much of the content on video sites like Youtube is of independent origin, sooner or later the Equal Protection doctrine will become the other edge of the sword. There is a widespread assumption that "production" is strictly a corporate affair, and that the "consumer" never produces anything. This assumption, and litigation based on it, can backfire.

It will be like winning the lottery when some independent producer has his right to his own material challenged in some ham-handed sweep that assumes all content is pirated. Inidividuals have rights and there can be dire consequences for abridging those rights.

Re:rights owners? (3, Interesting)

Original Replica (908688) | more than 6 years ago | (#24165073)

Inidividuals have rights and there can be dire consequences for abridging those rights.

Sadly that is where you are wrong, the consequences would be dire if they happened to a private individual or small business, but a few million dollars punitive damages is just a business expense to the like of Viacom. From an artcle in 2007:Viacom, parent of cable TV's MTV Networks and the Paramount Pictures movie studio, reported quarterly net income of $641.6 million....Reflecting last year's acquisition of the DreamWorks SKG studio, Viacom's filmed entertainment division logged an operating profit of $71.7 million. [latimes.com] So if some independent producer wins $10 or $20 million, it would hurt Viacom, but would hardly break them. By contrast if an individual must pay $100K in damages to Viacom, that pretty much breaks that person. They lose their house and car and hope for a decent life. That's why big corporations can fuck with individuals, but not vice versa. The only way individuals can take on a large corporation is to unionize, so if people want to protect privacy in their YouTube usage then there needs to be a YouTube Contributors Union, because a strike that involved every private contributor taking down their postings would break YouTube in less than a month.

Re:rights owners? (1)

johnlcallaway (165670) | more than 6 years ago | (#24164993)

The owner of the site makes the rules for using the site.

Don't like it??? Make your own site and grant unlimited privacy to everyone.

The site that pulls in the most revenue with the lowest operating margin ... wins!!!!

Re:rights owners? (1)

johnlcallaway (165670) | more than 6 years ago | (#24165061)

Ignore prior post .. for some reason I thought Viacom owned part of You Tube.

This is an outrage!!!!! Down with media giants!!!

It's the golden rule... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24164597)

The one with the gold makes the rules... or rulings in this matter.

Re:It's the golden rule... (1)

DrEldarion (114072) | more than 6 years ago | (#24164919)

Thanks for the insight, Jafar.

Re:It's the golden rule... (1)

cunamara (937584) | more than 6 years ago | (#24165817)

Who the hell modded this as "insightful?"

Huh? (4, Insightful)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#24164599)

What do you mean, "increasingly siding"? Most of this fuss is because of the DMCA, and that was only the latest in a long line of copyright "adjustments" that Congress made in favor if big copyright owners. Congress has been siding with rightsholders for a long time.

Re:Huh? (3, Informative)

Sen.NullProcPntr (855073) | more than 6 years ago | (#24164663)

This isn't about Congress and it's not limited to the US.
From TFA;

Increasingly, however, the courts are siding with rights owners and ruling that Web sites are responsible for illegal submissions.

And;

A French judge ordered eBay to pay Louis Vuitton handbag manufacturer LVMH (LVMH.PA) $61 million in damages. In doing so, the judge rejected eBay's argument that it is not responsible for illegal items sold by users because it provides tools to request removal of infringing goods and takes them down once notified.

Re:Huh? (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 6 years ago | (#24164735)

well ebay put themselves there once you start down the path of policing your own system you have to be responsible for it as well.

ISP need to stay neutral or else they too will become responsible for the content going over their networks. Of course their favorite point of not being neutral is the fact that they might become responsible for said content. thus pushing them further out of reality.

Re:Huh? (4, Insightful)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#24165029)

This isn't about Congress and it's not limited to the US.

From exactly where do you think countries like France are getting their equally bad ideas? The United States has been pushing our skewed ideas of Intellectual Property on most of the civilized world, and that is Congress' fault.

Re:Huh? (4, Insightful)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 6 years ago | (#24165307)

Well, where do you think we're getting a lot of our bad ideas? France has long been a source of terrible copyright laws, and the modern method used to push bad copyright laws through the US without serious debate has been to make treaties that Congress feels pressured to comply with by enacting the laws required by the treaty. Again, look to Europe for complicity in this.

The best thing we could do for ourselves and for others is to drop out of all of the copyright treaties, and just worry about our laws, while letting the rest of the world take care of itself. That's our tradition, and it would be best if we got back to it.

Re:Huh? (1)

MSZ (26307) | more than 6 years ago | (#24165367)

This isn't about Congress and it's not limited to the US.

This is about US Congress and govt, while it is not limited to US.
It was US Cogress that applied wrong and evil modifications to copyright laws, which then US government pushes onto the other countries as condition of trade agreements. So, YOU Americans started this plague and YOU spread it all over the world.

Re:Huh? (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#24165559)

Isn't there some thing about the fool that follows and the fool that leads?

Re:Huh? (5, Informative)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 6 years ago | (#24164691)

As TFA points out, the DMCA -- as unlikely as this seems -- is actually on the side of the angels in this one. It's a bad law, but one of the few good things it does is provide a measure of immunity to content-hosting sites, as long as those sites comply immediately with takedown requests. Viacom et al., having managed to get pretty much everything they wanted written into the DMCA a while back, are now arguing against the immunity provisions therein. These bastards just never quit.

Re:Huh? (2, Insightful)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#24164937)

As TFA points out, the DMCA -- as unlikely as this seems -- is actually on the side of the angels in this one.

Not at all. Congress knew what it was doing when it put that provision in there, and knew that it could be used as a method of suppressing, well, pretty much anything. And that kind of abuse is exactly what has been happening. They effectively gave Joe Blow the power to remove anything he doesn't like, and when Joe Blow is a big boy with the power to issue thousands of takedowns regardless of merit ... well. The results have been entirely predictable.

A court order should have been required in order to take anything down.

Re:Huh? (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 6 years ago | (#24165533)

The takedown spam is indeed a problem, but it's not the problem in this particular case. I'll say it again: the DMCA sucks, but one of the few ways it mitigates the suckage is by providing a method for content hosting sites to immunize themselves (even if the method itself is pretty crappy.) The problem here is that the MAFIAA wants to take even that measure of protection away.

Re:Huh? (1)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 6 years ago | (#24166089)

A court order should have been required in order to take anything down.

The problem with that is that it requires a significant amount of time for Joe Average to obtain such an order, and when we're talking about something like copyright infringement that potentially happens on a large scale in very little time on the Internet, such a delay dramatically reduces the effectiveness of the protections the law affords to copyright holders.

I look at it this way. It cannot be right to appoint a distribution service judge, jury and executioner in a dispute. However, if the presumption prior to a proper court decision is that material may be freely distributed, then a lot of damage can potentially be done very quickly, and never undone regardless of the court's decision. If the presumption prior to a proper court decision is that material may not be distributed, then the most that will happen if the court subsequently decides distribution is permissible is that the distribution will be delayed somewhat. The consequences just aren't balanced, and requiring a court order to take anything down is the option that does far more damage if it turns out to be the wrong call.

Courts issue temporary injunctions all the time to maintain as close as possible to status quo pending the outcome of a proper trial, and that's probably as fair a compromise as is possible to achieve in the real world, but to make this work in the case of on-line copyright infringement, you really need a system where such an injunction can be obtained in near real time.

Re:Huh? (1)

Klaus_1250 (987230) | more than 6 years ago | (#24164963)

It is just another landgrab on the net. The content-industry is just trying to get back the control and dominance they had in pre-internet times. And in doing so, they discovered that they can even go back to pre-VHS and pre-Cassette tape times and turn the internet into one large corporate controlled money-making machine (which sounds pretty good if you are a stockholder). And so far, they are doing a pretty good job.

Re:Huh? (1)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | more than 6 years ago | (#24164971)

It's a bad law, but one of the few good things it does is provide a measure of immunity to content-hosting sites, as long as those sites comply immediately with takedown requests.

This "comply immediately" clause is not good. It necessarily presumes guilt on the part of the host/content poster. There's no due process here, to determine: A) if the takedown request originates from the legitimate copyright holder or a duly appointed agent thereof, B) if the posting is in fact a violation of copyright, and not, say, fair use (an excerpt quoted for criticism, parody, a derivative work, etc).

No due process here, just take down immediately or you're in violation of the law. Not in MY Constitution, they don't.

Re:Huh? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24164809)

Cheap +5 Insightful: just say "All Americans suck because {insert generalization here}"

Okay, I'll bite. All Americans suck because they expect the world to kiss their asses, and when we don't they feel persecuted.
Now where's my +5 insightful, bitch?

Re:Huh? (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#24164889)

My presumption in coming up with that sig was that any +n insightful that resulted wouldn't be completely and irrevocably ignorant.

Re:Huh? (-1, Troll)

Toll_Free (1295136) | more than 6 years ago | (#24165105)

Come take your +5, fucker.

--Toll_Free

Re:Huh? (3, Insightful)

BronsCon (927697) | more than 6 years ago | (#24164811)

I'm a rightsholder. I hold all the rights The Constitution of the United States of America enumerates, in addition to many, many more, which it does not.

I haven't seen any court rulings in favor of those rights in a while.

"rights owners"? (5, Insightful)

speedtux (1307149) | more than 6 years ago | (#24164633)

For user-generated content, the users are the "rights owners". So it's wrong to say that the law is increasingly siding with rights owners.

What the article is perhaps trying to say is that the law is increasingly (?) siding with big business to keep smaller competitors out of the market.

Note, however, that the Viacom decision really has nothing to do with that. The Viacom decision is about determining what viewers actually view, and whether big business content is more (or less) popular than other content.

Re:"rights owners"? (1)

sadgoblin (1269500) | more than 6 years ago | (#24164767)

Are you saying that the monkey throwing poop is not the most popular video on YouTube? Im shocked!

Re:"rights owners"? (0, Redundant)

E IS mC(Square) (721736) | more than 6 years ago | (#24164887)

But Viacom has problem with that video too. According to them, throwing poop is their copyright.

Re:"rights owners"? (1)

FritzTheCat1030 (758024) | more than 6 years ago | (#24164931)

Are you saying that the monkey throwing poop is not the most popular video on YouTube? Im shocked!

Given what seems to be popular these days, I'm more shocked that it isn't

Kings and serfs (3, Insightful)

StreetStealth (980200) | more than 6 years ago | (#24164785)

More than that, this is about big business interests always trumping the rights of the individual.

From Jammie Thomas having to spend the rest of her life in debt for depriving the recording industry of $20 worth of revenue, to the EU's three-strikes-you're-out rule where the mere accusation of copyright violation can result in your ejection from modern society and being forced to live your life decades in the past before consumer internet access, this makes perfect sense. In fact, it's nothing.

The confidentiality of your viewing records? Your personal privacy? Meaningless as long as it conflicts with Viacom's interests.

Re:"rights owners"? (1)

SirLurksAlot (1169039) | more than 6 years ago | (#24164827)

For user-generated content, the users are the "rights owners".

It depends on what the content is. If it is content which a user has created on their own, then sure, they're the right owners. If we're talking about a clip (of something that wasn't created by the user) that has been uploaded to youtube or a similar site then no, the user is not the rights owner, but it could be fair use. Just because you upload something to the Internet doesn't mean you own it.

The Viacom decision is about determining what viewers actually view, and whether big business content is more (or less) popular than other content.

No, it's not. It's about Viacom believing that Google/Youtube is making money by allowing users to upload content which they consider to be theirs.

Re:"rights owners"? (1)

Acapulco (1289274) | more than 6 years ago | (#24164883)

TFA is not talking about user-generated content when saying "rights owners". It's referring to copyright owners, "...by posting copyrighted video of Viacom's Comedy Central shows on YouTube, for example..." As opposed to "the Web company", "...the Web company is not liable."
So, in that particular context, "the law is increasingly sliding with rights owners" is correctly stated, me believes.

Re:"rights owners"? (2, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | more than 6 years ago | (#24165419)

The Viacom decision is about determining what viewers actually view, and whether big business content is more (or less) popular than other content.

I really see two big problems with the decision. For YouTube users, it's a bit of a violation of privacy. But just as screwed up, IMO, is that it could just be a really sleezy move to get access to Google's records. They got a record of every viewing of every YouTube movie, IIRC with IP addresses and perhaps user names associated. It's a data-miner's dream for marketing purposes, especially for someone running TV networks.

Do we really trust that Viacom is just going to tally what videos are viewed most often to see whether pirated content is popular? That this data won't find its way to other places within Viacom?

bad precedent (5, Insightful)

v1 (525388) | more than 6 years ago | (#24164675)

A French judge ordered eBay to pay Louis Vuitton handbag manufacturer LVMH (LVMH.PA) $61 million in damages. In doing so, the judge rejected eBay's argument that it is not responsible for illegal items sold by users because it provides tools to request removal of infringing goods and takes them down once notified.

Sounds like eBay was trying to work on the same level as the DMCA crap, where as long as they offer the tools to get things removed (takedown notices) and don't try to police it themselves, it's a bit network-neutralics/safe harbor/etc. Either let it police itself and be held harmless, or police it yourself but don't screw up because you're now responsible.

Sounds like they want it both ways now? Police it yourself and miss one, lawsuit. Let them police it and issue takedowns, lawsuit. Just lovely. Doesn't leave them with much for options eh? But then I suppose the plaintifs would just suggest "you could always close your business". That's probably their end goal. eBay is bad for business in those markets, and there's no 'fix" for that besides getting rid of eBay.

Gets us back to the idea that if you have an outdated business model that doesn't work in today's world, you can either adapt, or try to warp the world to operate in a way you can still make a profit the old way. And of course we know what they always seem to pick... hah, silly picture enters my mind, a bunch of dinosaurs gathering wood to start fires, to combat the oncoming ice age.

Interesting comments on TFA (2, Informative)

MRe_nl (306212) | more than 6 years ago | (#24164749)

by the author, in response to comments;
"In the end, this lawsuit is all about money. That's somewhat fair. As Web advertising revenue grows, more companies are likely to want to partner with sites like YouTube than sue to have content removed. Thus, ultimately, the greatest impact of Viacom's lawsuit may be the amount of money Google feels compelled to share with content creators. If Viacom shows much of YouTube's traffic shows up to watch copyrighted content, at least initially, then Viacom may be able to successfully argue outside of court that Google owes creators like themselves more money. Incidentally, News Corp, head of the Fox network, owns MySpace."

and this should be funny in a sane world, but alas:
"Maybe youtube needs to do what the government always does when they are forced to turn over information. Delete all of the relevant information or make it unreadable. Print it out in text format then have someone go over every other line with a black marker."

also, somewhat offtopic (or is it?);
If you want to stop Google from building a complete profile of your browsing outside of *.google.com, just add this line to the bottom of c:\windows\system32\drivers\etc\hosts in notepad: 127.0.0.1 www.googleanalytics.com -- then visit the creepy google.com/history and turn that off.

Fair use (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24164803)

From TFA:

In the past, YouTube and Google could make a "fair use" legal argument because YouTube typically shows clips--not whole episodes. But now, content creators are trying to make money from appending ads to roughly the same clips and distributing them on their own online networks.

OK, so now the copyright holders want to package their content in a new form. They're free to do so, but how can that invalidate the fair use defense? If use of the clips was legally defensible before, then it still is.

Sorry, Viacom. You'll have to buy some more legislation to expand your monopoly. It doesn't extend to competing with YouTube online.

Oh no, the owners (3, Insightful)

Henry V .009 (518000) | more than 6 years ago | (#24164805)

As opposed to siding with the "rights violators?"

Re:Oh no, the owners (4, Insightful)

aplusjimages (939458) | more than 6 years ago | (#24164873)

But not everyone on Youtube is a violator, but everyone is being treated like one. Why should those who don't violate copyright laws have their records and data shuffled around to a third party?

I understand that Viacom is trying to take a stand to protect the future of copyright, but does that mean they have more rights than Youtube users who are abiding the copyright laws?

Re:Oh no, the owners (1)

Henry V .009 (518000) | more than 6 years ago | (#24165121)

not everyone on Youtube is a violator, but everyone is being treated like one

Don't be a drama queen. If everyone were being treated like a violator, they'd all be receiving lawsuit notices in the mail.

Re:Oh no, the owners (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24165387)

Congratulations! You win the "Highest Logical Fallacy Density in a Post" award for this article!

Re:Oh no, the owners (1)

Adambomb (118938) | more than 6 years ago | (#24165899)

Well, keep in mind there is no "rights violators" label until conviction. Before that they are the innocent-until-proven-guilty defendant. There should be no sides involved in a judge or juries heads, only the facts evidence and law.

Personally, i think its the laws part thats the problem, not the courts or the rights holders (even if some rights holders are the impetus for these legislations).
There's serious overhaul work to be done on the US copyright and patent systems, but it'll take a long time for the sleeping-dragon-now-awake to lumber in a new direction...especially with the number of "oooh look at the kitty" moments bound to be providing distraction.

Grossly exaggerated (4, Informative)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 6 years ago | (#24164821)

> As Viacom is granted access to YouTube user records...

Viacom has not been granted access to YouTube user records. Experts to be hired by their outside attorneys have. They are under court order not to disclose any user identifying information to any one, including Viacom. They, the lawyers, and Viacom are also under court order not to use any of the information for any purpose other than that specified in the order (which excludes using it to identify people to sue).

Re:Grossly exaggerated (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 6 years ago | (#24165435)

I see I was not entirely clear. What I mean is that Viacom is excluded from using any of the log data handed over to their lawyers to identify targets for infringement suits.

A question to think about: what if the court order was exactly the same but the data was being requested by an unemployed single mother defending herself against a copyright infringement suit brought by Viacom? Would you be equally outraged by the irfringement of your privacy?

Re:Grossly exaggerated (1)

yakumo.unr (833476) | more than 6 years ago | (#24165539)

Wish I had mod points today..
TFA did seem a little behind what has actually happened with Viacom/YouTube, veering on the side of inflammation.

It is also unaware of the recent rulings on on the legality of mashup web sites, MediaSentry getting into trouble, the FCC vs Comcast case and several others all beginning to properly protect consumer fair user rights and more.

If anything in the last couple of weeks I've been pleasantly surprised that more and more sensible, rational decisions seem to be being made by the courts, researching the matter properly rather than simply bowing to the case as pushed by those with the most financial power, and vested PR interests.

Maybe it's a late coming karmic shift to fairly balance things again, Jack Thompson's disbarment trial should not be overlooked either.

There is nothing more enjoyable... (3, Insightful)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | more than 6 years ago | (#24164871)

There is nothing more enjoyable than watching cbs tv shows on youtube. I mean i get to sit back in my comfortable couch and squint at my monitor, as i watch a tiny window displaying heavily compressed, often out of sync audio, and let me tell you, there is nothing more enjoyable then having to load up "part2" "part3" "part4" "part5" of the single episode. I find that i completely enjoy watching my CBS tv shows this way, at 5 minute clips at a time... It entertaining and relaxing.... That is until i need to get up to refresh my browser. You see, my keyboard is over at the desk along with the input device known as a mouse. Oh i could buy a wireless keyboard, after all i already have a wireless mouse.... but i enjoy the hell that i call the youtube viewing experience because i know, i can say "FUCK YOU VIACOM"... as i watch the latest stupid fucking reality tv show clip. It makes me feel good to know that i'm sticking it to the man, and ripping him off.

What would else would they expect me to do? Sit back on my comfortable couch and simply DVR their shitty reality show and watch it on my giant LCD TV as i fast forward through commercials for "Bullshit at eleven" news? Ah you gotta love the remote control. Its not nearly as painful as getting up to use the keyboard and mouse (which is on my desk if you remember). Oh i'm quite sure i will be youtubing today... You can bet your ass on it. Ted Kopple has an incredible 4 part series report on China and our economic relations, and its impact on the economy... and i cant wait to watch it in 5 minute segments on youtube. There must be at least thousands of "parts" that i'll have to watch just to see Ted's year long report. Thats right... Mr Kopple did a year long report on China. None of that 5 minute sound bite bullshit here... Ted actually did some reporting... yes it is possible, even if no one else does it (on TV...) I mean Youtube.

There's one thing that got lost somewhere (4, Insightful)

Enleth (947766) | more than 6 years ago | (#24164893)

Lawsuits, court orders, bazillions of dollars in damages, ruined lifes, bizarre legal actions, etc, etc.

Sounds like it was about something damn important.

Well, it's about DAMN ENTERTAINMENT. And it's getting more and more, er, entertaining every day. Or maybe not. What the hell is going on and why no one is able to see the biggest absurdity in there?

Re:There's one thing that got lost somewhere (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 6 years ago | (#24165007)

According to congress, the media industry is the most important industry we have in this country. ( i forget who actually said the words however )

That statement is sad, no matter how you look at it.

Re:There's one thing that got lost somewhere (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#24165059)

My guess would be Orrin Hatch, or maybe Berman or Coble. And given the way these assholes have been treating American manufacturing and industry, when the dust settles the media industry may end up being our only industry. Although, when you get right down to it all the big media conglomerates aren't U.S.-based organizations anyway. They're all foreign-owned, so for these Congressmen to make that claim is more than a little disingenuous.

Re:There's one thing that got lost somewhere (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 6 years ago | (#24165485)

> My guess would be Orrin Hatch, or maybe Berman or Coble.

Or one of the two senators from Hollywood.

> They're all foreign-owned...

It doesn't matter who owns them. It matters where most of their employees are and which celebrities have common interests with them. Celebrity and union endorsements are worth far more than PAC contributions.

Re:There's one thing that got lost somewhere (1)

You are not listenin (1296345) | more than 6 years ago | (#24165795)

They're all foreign-owned, so for these Congressmen to make that claim is more than a little disingenuous.

It also makes their protection at the expense of the welfare of American citizens a bit treasonous.

Re:There's one thing that got lost somewhere (1)

Compholio (770966) | more than 6 years ago | (#24165159)

Then do you part to change the industry and stop consuming (or start copying) entertainment "goods".

Re:There's one thing that got lost somewhere (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 6 years ago | (#24165471)

Been doing my part for years.

I also avoid non US manufactured products, when practical.

Re:There's one thing that got lost somewhere (2, Insightful)

stuckinarut (891702) | more than 6 years ago | (#24165027)

I agree with your sentiment entirely but I think this is really about $$$MONEY$$$

Re:There's one thing that got lost somewhere (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24165145)

When people stop shelling out billions of dollars a year for entertainment, *then* you can call it absurd.

Even if you disregard the idea that people are voting with their wallets (and thus entertainment is de facto important), you have to at least admit that the money *itself* is something to keep an eye on and worry about.

International precedent should be ignored (1)

schwit1 (797399) | more than 6 years ago | (#24164915)

"lawyers with cases in U.S. courts are likely to argue the international precedents should, at least, influence the thinking of American judges faced with their own cases challenging whether takedown rules are sufficient to protect sites against liability."

And if the international precedents are coming out of China or Muslim countries where some YouTube videos might get you a bullet or beheaded ... that's all we need. US law should be the only influence on decisions.

"increasingly" WHAT increasingly ? (0, Flamebait)

unity100 (970058) | more than 6 years ago | (#24164975)

it was a stupid over 80 year old old coot, residing over a court while he should have retired and gone to florida long ago, that has given that stupid, idiotic, 1930s verdict over the case. and what he said about youtube's objections regarding privacy was "a bunch of speculation".

thats what happens when you let senile individuals still work on key positions in the society.

people go senile after some late age. you CANT prevent it. it happens sooner or latter. letting people run such key positions past that point is WAY stupid and dangerous. can you imagine that old coot as secretary of defense, hell, even president ?

Re:"increasingly" WHAT increasingly ? (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#24165067)

can you imagine that old coot as secretary of defense, hell, even president ?

How would that be worse than what we have now?

Re:"increasingly" WHAT increasingly ? (1)

Toll_Free (1295136) | more than 6 years ago | (#24165151)

Yeah, design a foolproof test for showing that they are incompetent.

2. Instant millionaire.

I agree completely. I have family that started out in different agencies, before they went 3 letter. Watching the mental faculties fail over the years made me wonder wtf was really going on with other people.

Luckily (for us?) my family members "involved" left and chased the real estate dollar (in as much as you can ever leave, the rest of the family always wondered about grandmas side business she ran for years) before the mental faculties went completely down the road, so to speak.

The main problem with "testing" or otherwise showing people that they aren't able to contribute as much as they used to is... That's the path to Euthenasia. And we won't allow us to go there, too many politicians would be "completed".

--Toll_Free

Why shouldn't the law protect rights owners? (2, Insightful)

amper (33785) | more than 6 years ago | (#24165033)

It seems to me that a default assumption has grown up that purports to demonstrate that protecting the rights of content creators is somehow immoral.

The laws and the legal system *should* lean toward the side of rights owners, as long as it doesn't go so far as to trample on the rights of the people. After all, in the modern, digital age, the power clearly rests with the public, not the creators, and one job of the law is to be a normative guide.

Granted, the media conglomerates can, have, and will continue to abuse their positions, but what we need to do here is to challenge the *bad* parts of our current IP jurisprudence and legislation without throwing the baby out with the bath water, so to speak.

user-generated sites? (2, Insightful)

Animaether (411575) | more than 6 years ago | (#24165045)

"As Viacom is granted access to YouTube user records, a bigger threat to user-generated sites emerges: The law is increasingly siding with rights owners."

The site in this case being YouTube... the site-generation is entirely YouTube's. The user-generated content are the videos, descriptions, tags, comments, etc. Let's limit ourselves to the videos. Viacom and rights holders couldn't give less of a shit about your user-generated content - where that be your laughing baby or your cat saying "hello" or, heck, Star Trek parody. What they care about is the content that isn't user-generated at all - the content that at... worst is just a straight capture of one of their productions uploaded verbatim and at best is things like an MP3 set to a still image or a slideshow. That is not user-generated content no matter which way you want to twist the laws that existed even way before the DMCA.

The law isn't 'increasingly siding with rights owners', it's increasingly applying pre-existing laws. Just because we've all enjoyed being free from those laws for so long due to inattention from rights holders doesn't mean those laws magically went away. Sucks for us - but then we should get the existing laws changed.

That said.. Viacom et al blundered when they left the safe harbor provisions in as they are, instead of stipulating that all content that matches the infringing content's description (probably more technically detailed as being done via audio/video recognition algorithms) to be removed and future content being provided to the site being blocked. Then they wouldn't have to go completely overboard and try to find out what percentage of views go to unlicensed content to... to what, anyway? Declare YouTube a 'pirate haven'?

Re:user-generated sites? (4, Insightful)

david_thornley (598059) | more than 6 years ago | (#24165339)

You're right that Viacom doesn't care about user-generated content, and they're perfectly willing to shut down any place that'll host user-generated content. That's the problem here.

Viacom is, basically, trying to hold YouTube responsible for any videos on it that have Viacom-represented copyrights. What that means, in practice, is that YouTube cannot continue to operate. In a site that permits users to post anything, be it videos, pictures, or text, it is impossible for the site owners to screen everything successfully. Therefore, any site that hosts any user-provided copyrightable material will be sued to oblivion when they slip up.

The DMCA safe harbor provision, as long as it is enforced, allows sites like YouTube, or, for that matter, website providers, to continue without disastrous legal consequences. Heck, what's Sourceforge supposed to do, if somebody claims some project contains code they copyrighted? Get sued into oblivion, most likely.

In other words, litigation like this, if successful, will devastate the internet as a source for anything not provided by large corporations.

The law isn't 'increasingly siding with rights owners', it's increasingly applying pre-existing laws.

Except for that part of the DMCA that allows sites like YouTube to function. Viacom wants to enforce every law it likes, and ignore every law it doesn't.

That said.. Viacom et al blundered when they left the safe harbor provisions in as they are,

Last I looked, Congress had some responsibility for making laws, and Congress put the safe harbor provision in there. It's there, for all the complaining Viacom does, and it does apply to Viacom's materials.

Seriously, the proper organization to monitor copyright infringement here is Viacom. YouTube presumably doesn't have a complete list of Viacom's copyrights, and can't tell if something from that list was posted legitimately or not.

Sign the Viacom/YouTube petition!!! (2, Informative)

AnonStar3001 (1324601) | more than 6 years ago | (#24165057)

Sign the petition at http://www.petitiononline.com/privacy9/petition.html [petitiononline.com] Btw, this petition is full of interesting comments, go read it! POWER TO THE PEOPLE!

Re:Sign the Viacom/YouTube petition!!! (3, Insightful)

Toll_Free (1295136) | more than 6 years ago | (#24165169)

Online petitions have a GREAT history of working, don't they?

--Toll_Free

Re:Sign the Viacom/YouTube petition!!! (3, Insightful)

AnonStar3001 (1324601) | more than 6 years ago | (#24165271)

The more things people do, the more this judge and Viacom will see that people don't agree at all with what's going on. Like I said, the comments in this petition are very interesting, some show some points of view that we don't hear a lot here. If you don't sign it, at least read it.

They know know everything you have seen (1)

pancakegeels (673199) | more than 6 years ago | (#24165081)

which for them is worth millions in marketing research. Even if you have never watched a single bit of their intellectual property - they still get to know. This is a gross infringement of everyones privacy. If anything they should be allowed to see who watched particular videos (that viacom can prove infringed) - not the whole damn lot.

Not surprising... (2, Insightful)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | more than 6 years ago | (#24165335)

Sites that aggregate user supplied material may find that they are held to a higher standard of care simply because of their business model. It should have become apparent that some percentage of users upload copyrighted material and that it is done on a routine basis; so to try to hide behind safe harbor provisions is disingenuous.

Specifically, the DMCA provides safe harbor if, among other things, the OSP:

# not be aware of facts or circumstances from which infringing activity is apparent (512(c)(1)(A)(2)).

Given the nature of many files and having received takedown notices the companies should be aware that such activity occurs and have ways to recognize that it is occurring; for example filenames of popular TV shows or sports clips.

# not receive a financial benefit directly attributable to the infringing activity, in a case in which the service provider has the right and ability to control such activity

Given that they get significant ad revenue from the site; and that it depends on material people want to see, I'd say it is not a stretch to say they are profiting from the infringement.

For them to claim that they are innocent is a bit of a stretch. They need to work out an agreement with copyright owners to stay in business; can you say revenue sharing?

Sad geek reality... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24165377)

FreeNet, I2P, Tor, sing along...!

When will social networks evolve with OpenID, OpenPrivacy, etc to create a distributed, user controlled, profile... that with distributed virtual world and what not. It's time we kill the server as something special, we're all servers or we're all nothing.

Screw centralization, come on, when will we wake up... oh yes, when it's called InternetTV.

Clearance center (1)

RevWaldo (1186281) | more than 6 years ago | (#24165393)

Big media could set up a clearance center where users could upload videos of non-fair-use copyrighted material and identify where they want to post it (youtube, etc.) A small army of interns goes through the videos, determines if it steps on the toes of any of their other offerings (their own sites, DVDs, etc.) and if not, let's it go through.

Oh, and big media would get a cut of the ad revenue, as prearranged with the video hosting sites.

There's already precedence for this with the Copyright Clearance Center [copyright.com]

Companies Viacom ownes (2, Informative)

coolsnowmen (695297) | more than 6 years ago | (#24165581)

There seemed to be some misunderstanding so:
According to http://www.cjr.org/resources/ [cjr.org]
Viacom ownes:
Cable
        MTV
        MTV2
        mtvU
        Nickelodeon
        BET
        Nick at Nite
        TV Land
        NOGGIN
        VH1
        Spike TV
        CMT
        Comedy Central
        Showtime
        The Movie Channel
        Flix
        Sundance Channel
Film
        Paramount Pictures
        Paramount Home Entertainment
Other
        Famous Music

tagged: Bye-Bye Internet (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 6 years ago | (#24165939)

I predict a victory for youtube in this circuit court, and an appeal to the USSC, where the same activist judges who passed the "induce act" via court ruling will kill youtube 8-1.

After this, hollywood will quickly swoop in like those dragons from reign of fire, reducing pretty much the entire internet as we know it to fine ash.

Thanks to the new innovation of gaming the system via "outrage politics", the governments of the western world will simply cover it up by immediately acting even more egregiously in a new direction.

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