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Viacom Looks For Google Staff Uploads in YouTube Logs

CmdrTaco posted more than 6 years ago | from the behold-the-data dept.

Google 308

Barence writes "Viacom wants to know which YouTube videos have been uploaded by members of Google's staff, in what could be a potentially explosive aspect of its copyright infringement claim against the search giant."

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Pointless... (4, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 6 years ago | (#24182687)

What Viacom is doing is absolutely pointless. Want to make money? Have free downloads of *all* your shows on your website. And upload a bunch on YouTube too, why? Because YouTube is an easy way to watch videos, and I believe that Google will pay you to have ads in your videos.

Re:Pointless... (5, Insightful)

mark72005 (1233572) | more than 6 years ago | (#24182771)

Why would someone download video clips with embedded ads if there were another source for the same clips without the ads?

There's going to be a showdown here, because i don't think the internet ads model generates a lot of revenue. Naturally Viacom wants people watching their programs on TV only so they can keep ratings up and TV ad revenues up.

I'm not a fan of Viacom's behavior either, but it seems strange to suggest that they would make more money that way.

Re:Pointless... (1)

mweather (1089505) | more than 6 years ago | (#24182803)

Then Viacom needs to push for video on demand, because that's the only thing that can save TV. Even then, you've basically got the Int

Re:Pointless... (4, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 6 years ago | (#24182941)

Why would someone download video clips with embedded ads if there were another source for the same clips without the ads?

Why would someone use an OS that is proprietary and expensive when there is a free OS that is open source and costs nothing? Convenience. Same idea here, people will go where it is convenient, be it Viacom's site, YouTube or TPB.

Re:Pointless... (2, Insightful)

felipekk (1007591) | more than 6 years ago | (#24183299)

Wrong analogy. Regarding the videos, with or without ads the content is basically the same. On your OS comparison, the content is 100% different.

A correct version of your analogy would be: why would someone use a OS build with ads on it instead of the same build without ads?

The answer is still the same, though: convenience.

Re:Pointless... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24183307)

Wait, are you saying Linux is inconvenient for the average person to use? Blasphemy! I cast thee out! at least if any of my 6 other accounts have mod points.

Re:Pointless... (0, Flamebait)

speedtux (1307149) | more than 6 years ago | (#24183325)

Why would someone use an OS that is proprietary and expensive when there is a free OS that is open source and costs nothing? Convenience.

That can't be it, because Windows is not particularly convenient.

Re:Pointless... (4, Insightful)

Captain Hook (923766) | more than 6 years ago | (#24183271)

I don't think the internet ads model generates a lot of revenue. Naturally Viacom wants people watching their programs on TV only so they can keep ratings up and TV ad revenues up.

I've always wondered about that. If internet advertising doesn't work, why does TV advertising? I suppose it could just be audience size, but if advertisers are so good at their job, why can't they produce more tailored ad campaigns for a more fractured audience given how much more (potentially at least) they know about the person seeing the ad.

The one thing Internet advertising has given ad managers is more accurate information on response rates. How do you measure TV response rate, the number of people phoning a number asking for a product after a advert goes out? that would seem to give vague numbers at best.

Perhaps it's just more honest response rate which are harder to hide that ad managers dislike about Internet advertising.

Re:Pointless... (2, Insightful)

cliffski (65094) | more than 6 years ago | (#24183673)

TVs do not (generally) have the equivalent of adblock. And there is no easy way to totally cover the users monitor for five minutes of fullscreen ads on the web that they cannot disable.
It's totally different.

Internet advertising does work, but the payback per ad view is trivially small. I've experimented with ads on my site, and the revenue is even more laughable after the ad managers take their cut.

Re:Pointless... (2, Insightful)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#24183387)

Why would someone download video clips with embedded ads if there were another source for the same clips without the ads?

Why do people watch movies on TV when you can rent the DVD for a dollar and see it ad-free, uncut, uninterrupted, uncensored, in your choice of widescreen or standard, that you can pause to go to the bathroom?

I was watching What Women Want this past weekend at a friend's house (I don't have cable) and was appalled that cable keeps sucking more and more. In the early eighties movies were uncut and uncensored and commercial-free. Then they started putting logos at the bottom right. While she was flipping through the channels I noticed that one of them had imbedded ads for their programming at the top left.

But cable manages to stay in business somehow. Same goes here.

Re:Pointless... (1)

edumacator (910819) | more than 6 years ago | (#24183695)

I've always been surprised they don't use one sponsor per ad. I'm a soccer fan...football for all you non-Americans out there...and I've always loved the early attempt at having few commercial interruptions by getting the occasional flash of "This program is brought to you by..." across the bottom of the screen. That would seem like a simpler ad model to me, and relatively unobtrusive.

But hey, I'm not the kind of guy they tend to advertise too. I don't buy stuff.

Re:Pointless... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24183429)

Why would someone download video clips with embedded ads if there were another source for the same clips without the ads?

Because they can watch it on their appleTV or similar from their couch with a touch of the remote? I know I would rather have my TV shows _freely_ and directly on my aTV from YouTube than do the ktorrent/ subdownloader/ scp/ rinse/ repeat trick.

Re:Pointless... (5, Informative)

pieterh (196118) | more than 6 years ago | (#24182851)

Well, SouthParkStudios.com proves this. But Viacom is not interested in looking for new business models. They are looking to protect their existing business models, and YouTube hurts these.

The thing is, it's not sharing clips that hurts Viacom's business. That probably helps, free publicity for programs.

What hurts Viacom is user-generated content: eyeballs going to watch stuff that is produced totally outside the normal distribution model.

So Viacom is not IMO trying to protect its copyrighted content. What it wants to do is scare people who use YouTube into thinking "my personal data ain't safe", to create a chilling effect that will stop user-created content.

Imagine if Viacom had been infiltrated by Scientologists and they could now get access to logs of who uploaded, and who watched, videos by Anonymous. It's not likely but the mere idea this could happen will drive some people away, fracture the community, and make passive TV watching seem safer again.

OTOH, Viacom, not being an Internet company, does not realize that this kind of attack on a community always has the exact opposite effect.

So the result will be a hundred new video sharing sites, and a much more difficult situation for Viacom, both for copyright takedowns, and for competition to their programming.

Re:Pointless... (3, Insightful)

Jellybob (597204) | more than 6 years ago | (#24183031)

What hurts Viacom is user-generated content: eyeballs going to watch stuff that is produced totally outside the normal distribution model.

While it would be nice to think that was the case, I don't think it's really happening yet. Sure, people will go and watch a few user created videos when there's nothing new to read on Slashdot during their lunch break, but I can't see the family gathering round the computer to watch "Jim's Low Budget Talent Show" in the same way as they would for "The X-Factor".

That might change at some point in the future, but from my highly unscientific surveys, most people browsing YouTube are doing it to watch clips from Top Gear and the like.

Re:Pointless... (5, Interesting)

pieterh (196118) | more than 6 years ago | (#24183177)

Totally unscientific survey: my 4-year old daughter prefers to browse YouTube than television. Admittedly she tends to follow pop videos. But she prefers the mouse to the TV remote.

If it's true that people use YouTube to watch clips from TV programs, then Viacom are even stupider than I thought...

But stupid or not, this seems to be the start of the TV industry joining the music and movie and telecoms businesses in attacking the open Internet.

I wonder what kind of Internet my daughter will have when she grows up.

Re:Pointless... (5, Funny)

jwriney (16598) | more than 6 years ago | (#24183637)

I wonder what kind of Internet my daughter will have when she grows up.

Don't worry, it'll still have porn on it.

--riney

Re:Pointless... (2, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 6 years ago | (#24183209)

While it would be nice to think that was the case, I don't think it's really happening yet. Sure, people will go and watch a few user created videos when there's nothing new to read on Slashdot during their lunch break, but I can't see the family gathering round the computer to watch "Jim's Low Budget Talent Show" in the same way as they would for "The X-Factor".

No, but think about how many people make and watch say, fan-made music videos. And think of all the internet memes that have happened because of user-made content. Sure, user-made content won't have the same appeal as major shows, but I think that a lot of people spend an hour watching user-made content and might watch 2 hours of "normal" TV.

Re:Pointless... (1)

Roxton (73137) | more than 6 years ago | (#24183653)

True, but replace "user-generated content" with "independently-generated content" and you might see what the fuss is.

Viacom and the other content networks control the set of content that is seen by a mainstream audience. Not only that, but they control the revenue model of people who make television shows.

Right now, independent producers are locked out. They cannot get investors, create a show, and put it where people can and will see it. If YouTube becomes a popular place to get content (it's not hard to imagine some quality changes and mass-production of a YouTube set-top box if the market were there), the old model simply goes away.

Independent-produced content will only take off quickly if it's a peer in a system that will also show current mainstream content. Companies like Viacom can easily keep that from happening by controlling the channels of distribution.

I don't think YouTube is going to be the great Liberator of Content. Maybe NetFlix+SetTop?

Re:Pointless... (1)

blakbeard0 (1246212) | more than 6 years ago | (#24183203)

SouthParkStudios.Com is owned by Viacom...

Re:Pointless... (1)

Standard User 79 (1209050) | more than 6 years ago | (#24183721)

This gets a +5?

1. SouthParkStudios content is owned by Viacom.

2. Viacom claims that YouTube built their business around stolen content (in particular Viacom's content). Whether YouTube's success is from cats doing funny stuff or copyrighted material is a big deal. They are not interested in suing or scaring you when they can prove damages against a multi billion dollar company.

3. Infiltrated by scientologists?

Re:Pointless... (4, Insightful)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 6 years ago | (#24182979)

What Viacom is doing is absolutely pointless. Want to make money? Have free downloads of *all* your shows on your website. And upload a bunch on YouTube too, why? Because YouTube is an easy way to watch videos, and I believe that Google will pay you to have ads in your videos.

That's like a movie theater making an illegal print of a movie, showing it in their theaters, then sending a token $1 for each showing back to the theater. And when the studios complain, they say, "Shaddup. What are you complaining about? You're making money, aren't you?"

Maybe Viacom (and anyone else) want to be able to decide where their work shows and how much money it makes.

Re:Pointless... (2, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 6 years ago | (#24183163)

Maybe Viacom (and anyone else) want to be able to decide where their work shows and how much money it makes.

Umm... Lets see. Which is going to get more views, either A) an episode that gets shown on TV say 10 times a year or B) the same episode that is online for viewing 24/7. More views == more money, granted, online distribution has a slightly lower profit margin, but it also has slightly lower costs.

And by regulating, who can see their work, they are missing out on a whole bunch of fans. Anime proved this. Sure, people download anime from Japan, translate it and repost it, but as the Anime studios figured out, this lead to more fans so they could release the English language Anime and have a fanbase.

Re:Pointless... (1)

NotBornYesterday (1093817) | more than 6 years ago | (#24183405)

I generally agree with this and several other comments you've made here. But just to play devil's advocate ... what about scarcity? If supply and demand set pricing in a market, controlling access to a piece of media reduces its availability. By controlling supply, theoretically they can get a higher price in return (ie, the TV ad spots will go for more than the web ads).

But as you pointed out, they, like many other traditional media outlets, have forgotten the demand side of the equation. If consumers have a greater expectation of content on demand, and Viacom's isn't there when they click on YouTube, any model based on controlling supply in the old-fashioned way falls apart. Out of sight == out of mind. In media, out of mind == out of business.

Re:Pointless... (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 6 years ago | (#24183507)

generally agree with this and several other comments you've made here. But just to play devil's advocate ... what about scarcity? If supply and demand set pricing in a market, controlling access to a piece of media reduces its availability. By controlling supply, theoretically they can get a higher price in return (ie, the TV ad spots will go for more than the web ads).

Ah, but you are forgetting one thing. Premiers. There is a reason that Super Bowl ads run outrageous prices, not because it will only be shown once, but because people will watch it the first time it shows. Season premiers along with season finales are a great way for Viacom to rack up TV ad revenue. No one will care if it is the end/beginning of a season when it goes to reruns. And I am assuming that Viacom won't put the episode online for, say a week after it gets broadcast. So yes, the web ads will not have enough profit margin, but how many people watch the end to a cliffhanger of their favorite show on TV? Just about everyone, so by putting content online they don't risk the high-yield TV ads.

Re:Pointless... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24183563)

And by regulating, who can see their work, they are missing out on a whole bunch of fans. Anime proved this. Sure, people download anime from Japan, translate it and repost it, but as the Anime studios figured out, this lead to more fans so they could release the English language Anime and have a fanbase.

Bzzt. Or show me citations that anime studios like or even tolerate fansubbers. If you do, I'll show you dozens showing the opposite.
Disclaimer: I'm a fansubber

Re:Pointless... (1, Interesting)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 6 years ago | (#24183181)

because we all know movie studios are special, holy, blameless businesses who are utterly 'entitled' to profit.

The viability of these industries' business models is gone, kaput, byebye.

The continued facilitation of their nuking every potentially viable replacement off the economic map is orders of magnitude worse than the proverbial "welfare queen".

Not only are they leeching money off our economy directly through legalized extortion, they are strangling new sectors which could actually create jobs in the cradle.

Re:Pointless... (2, Insightful)

Hyppy (74366) | more than 6 years ago | (#24183223)

Maybe Viacom (and anyone else) want to be able to decide where their work shows and how much money it makes.

No, they should be able to decide how much to CHARGE. Very distinct and important difference.

Re:Pointless... (3, Informative)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 6 years ago | (#24183583)

That's like a movie theater making an illegal print of a movie, showing it in their theaters, then sending a token $1 for each showing back to the theater. And when the studios complain, they say, "Shaddup. What are you complaining about? You're making money, aren't you?"

Oddly enough, this is exactly how radio works. As I understand it, anyone is allowed to play any song on any radio, so long as they pay their royalties through a system which has been established for this purpose.

I'm not going to say whether that's a good thing, just interesting.

Re:Pointless... (1)

Robocoastie (777066) | more than 6 years ago | (#24183037)

so true Darkness404. All viacom has to do is what the music companies SHOULD have done: rather than whine about it join them or design their own site with higher quality and ditch the commercials because we flat out hate them. That's the underlieing issue with suppossed video copying: we despise the old way of being forced into commercials. New media is all about choice, not force.

Too Late... (1)

Thelasko (1196535) | more than 6 years ago | (#24183321)

Hulu already did it.

Seriously, what?! (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24182691)

The term "moneygrabbing cunts" comes to mind.

Re:Seriously, what?! (3, Informative)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#24183639)

Are you saying that Viacom is a bunch of whores? Dude, I like whores! The difference between Viacom and a whore is, whores are less dishonest.

Right... (1)

JCSoRocks (1142053) | more than 6 years ago | (#24182695)

Because brief clips of movies on the internet aren't pretty much free advertising for your movies... what're those called again? trailers? And music videos aren't free advertising for songs either... Viacom is shooting their own foot.

Re:Right... (5, Interesting)

pin0chet (963774) | more than 6 years ago | (#24183017)

I agree that YouTube is an excellent way to popularize Viacom's content, but that's not the only business concern of relevance here.

Viacom wants to use YouTube-esque short clips of its videos as a revenue source. And, if Google's employees are uploading infringing content, then YouTube may be actively hampering Viacom's ability to earn ad revenue from its original works. Comedy Central, for example, offers years of Daily Show, Colbert Report, and South Park clips that are supported by ads. YouTube is likely limiting Viacom's ability to capitalize on its intellectual property by substituting for Viacom's in-house video service. That is textbook copyright infringement.

Re:Right... (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 6 years ago | (#24183267)

Viacom wants to use YouTube-esque short clips of its videos as a revenue source. And, if Google's employees are uploading infringing content, then YouTube may be actively hampering Viacom's ability to earn ad revenue from its original works.

And how will this work? If it is ads, then just make a deal with Google to display ads and Viacom gets a slice of the profit. Because no one is going to go to 5 different sites go get videos.

Re:Right... (1)

initdeep (1073290) | more than 6 years ago | (#24183709)

yes because people won't go to a bunch of different sites to view their news....

or their forum tastes.....

etc.

people have these things called bookmarks.
and if they can easily and freely view content from a viacom subsidiary, even with ads in place, they will.

so if viacom wants to setup a website for each subsidiary, or even each show, and on said website display ads, and offer video's of their content, with embedded ads, they can.

if a copy of said content is uploaded to youtube without ads, then this is again, a classic case of copyright infringement and it has the effect of lowering their revenue.

its a perfectly valid point.

i happen to disagree with their reasoning, and can see that uploaded content on sites like youtube may actually be beneficial, but i can also see how they have reached their reasoning.

what's the use of being popular (1)

Presto Vivace (882157) | more than 6 years ago | (#24183635)

if you don't get paid for it? I think Viacom has a point.

Good! (5, Insightful)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 6 years ago | (#24182703)

While I dislike the action, it gives Google (and ever other major corporation) a reason to care about my privacy rights. Hate the means; love the ends.

Re:Good! (1)

exley (221867) | more than 6 years ago | (#24182947)

While I dislike the action, it gives Google (and ever other major corporation) a reason to care about my privacy rights. Hate the means; love the ends.

Well, it gives Google and companies like them reason to care about their privacy rights. If you're lucky "trade secrets" will be threatened and your privacy will be protected as a convenient side effect.

Re:Good! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24183473)

Yeah, I agree. Hopefully motivate them to anonymize the data.

common sense (4, Insightful)

caffeinemessiah (918089) | more than 6 years ago | (#24182713)

Now I'm no expert, but it seems like if your company is involved in a lawsuit with Corporation X, you probably shouldn't patronize the services of Corporation X, or you might lose your job.

Common sense aside, uploading copyrighted videos is clearly against any corporate internet use policy. Why should Google be held liable for the illegal actions of its employees? It's not like Google encouraged its employees to upload the Daily Show. If that doesn't hold up in court, you just got yourself a convenient way to screw your employer (convenient if, for example, you were planning on leaving the country).

Re:common sense (5, Interesting)

OscarBlock (861399) | more than 6 years ago | (#24182863)

I think Google should check to see if any of Viacom's staff have been uploading videos while they are at it. Could be interesting...

Re:common sense (2, Funny)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 6 years ago | (#24182869)

That doesn't hold up in court.

Why a potentially explosive aspect? (4, Insightful)

free space (13714) | more than 6 years ago | (#24182727)

If it was uploaded by Google's staff as part of their paid job, then yes, Google is intentionally infringing their copyright.
But why would Google be blamed for an employee acting on his own to upload something?

Re:Why a potentially explosive aspect? (1)

atari2600 (545988) | more than 6 years ago | (#24182815)

Not sure but using Google's resources to do the act of uploading might involve Google.

Re:Why a potentially explosive aspect? (1)

Jellybob (597204) | more than 6 years ago | (#24183065)

And if I were to send an e-mail using my personal address to arrange a drug deal right now, it would involve my employer's resources.

It wouldn't however make my employer guilty of attempting to supply controlled substances.

Re:Why a potentially explosive aspect? (1)

atari2600 (545988) | more than 6 years ago | (#24183213)

Not a great analogy but let's try to fix that: try replacing "personal email address" with "company email address" to arrange your drug deal and your employer would be involved in some way.

Re:Why a potentially explosive aspect? (5, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 6 years ago | (#24182971)

What I want to know is how many Viacom owned clips were uploaded by Viacom employees. I bet there were more uploaded by Viacom employees than Google employees.

Re:Why a potentially explosive aspect? (1)

cleatsupkeep (1132585) | more than 6 years ago | (#24183313)

Crap, modded redundant, undoing. There should be a confirmation for all mods, but especially negative mods. Meant to mod interesting. Turnabout being fair play and all.

Re:Why a potentially explosive aspect? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24183547)

In the Viacom board room:

"One of our own employees is uploading to YouTube? I don't know who this Jon Stewart guy is, but I want his head on a silver platter!"

Re:Why a potentially explosive aspect? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24182977)

It's called vicarious liability, or respondeat superior.

So long as what they were doing was connected to work, (which uploading videos on their own service likely is,) as opposed to "frolic and detour," Google could easily be on the hook.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vicarious_liability

Re:Why a potentially explosive aspect? (4, Informative)

randalotto (1206870) | more than 6 years ago | (#24183093)

Let me try that again: So long as what they were doing was connected to work, (which uploading videos on their own service likely is,) or was a mere "detour," as opposed to an independent "frolic," Google could easily be on the hook. It's called vicarious liability, or respondeat superior. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vicarious_liability [wikipedia.org]

Re:Why a potentially explosive aspect? (1)

BuckaBooBob (635108) | more than 6 years ago | (#24183107)

I think the above comment about Google searching the logs for Viacom employees is waaay more valid :)

Re:Why a potentially explosive aspect? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24183119)

Exactly. This is like suing a company because some employees were found jaywalking or screwing barn animals.

Even if they did it on company time the company is not responsible provided they made the employee sign the right agreement, they didn't know about the employee's actions, and took appropriate measures to inform their employees what was right and what was wrong.

The only way Viacom's suit can work is if Google entered into some sort of legal... I dunno, contract, that specified that the _company_ would abide by certain actions.

Re:Why a potentially explosive aspect? (1)

MacDork (560499) | more than 6 years ago | (#24183555)

If it was uploaded by Google's staff as part of their paid job, then yes, Google is intentionally infringing their copyright. But why would Google be blamed for an employee acting on his own to upload something?

That's all speculation. What this boils down to right now is an argument over whether or not Google should be forced to provide IP addresses with the data. Google's own defense for collecting the info [slashdot.org] is being used to compel Google to provide it. CNet is just speculating on what Viacom could do if they do get the info with IP addresses intact.

Same "news" as last week, now with 20% more speculation and hand wringing.

clever (1)

Presto Vivace (882157) | more than 6 years ago | (#24182743)

whatever you think of this, it is very clever on the part of Viacom.

Oh noes, the Janitor!! (3, Insightful)

JCSoRocks (1142053) | more than 6 years ago | (#24182775)

Hmm, just RTFA. With a company the size of google I don't see how just demonstrating that an employee is uploading copyrighted content is good enough. Just because the janitor / cafeteria lady / lead developer for Blogger is doing it doesn't mean that the people in the YouTube group knew they were. (I'm saying this knowing full well that Viacom is just trying to legally prove what everyone else already knows - of course the YouTube guys know people are putting copyrighted stuff on there.)

Staff posting? (4, Insightful)

Wowsers (1151731) | more than 6 years ago | (#24182781)

Would staff be posting Viacom material from their work place? More likely if any video was posted to Youtube, they would do it from their homes, which are NOT under googles (or any other employers) control. Viacom could therefore go jump at making tenuous connections between being employed by company x, and company x endorsing some behaviour.

Re:Staff posting? (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 6 years ago | (#24182901)

No, they'd do it from work, where they have a faster connection and are encouraged to slack off and bring their dogs in for massages.

Re:Staff posting? (3, Interesting)

atari2600 (545988) | more than 6 years ago | (#24182927)

You'd be surprised what a night shift can do to people. That and the amenities Google provides to its employees, chances are you will find more than a few employees working late into the night and then taking a 30minute break *cough*. It's speculation but the point is it is quite possible for someone to upload copyrighted stuff using "employer resources".

Re:Staff posting? (1)

Rary (566291) | more than 6 years ago | (#24182985)

Most likely, employees have a YouTube account that is set up specifically for work purposes. They may also have a personal YouTube account, but that's not likely what's relevant here. What's relevant is their work account. If an employee posts a video using that account, it can be assumed that it was done so with the company's knowledge. If they did it from home, that wouldn't mean anything since employees can work from home.

How about looking for Viacom employees? (4, Interesting)

atari2600 (545988) | more than 6 years ago | (#24182795)

Surely there must be a few viacom employees (or employees of its partners) who have either watched or uploaded or both (and I am talking about copyrighted crap) videos to Youtube. How about looking for them?

Hell how about looking for MS employees? or Boeing? Might as well look for everything..Good luck Viacom /spit.

Re:How about looking for Viacom employees? (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 6 years ago | (#24182913)

That's irrelevant to the current lawsuit.

Re:How about looking for Viacom employees? (4, Insightful)

jdunlevy (187745) | more than 6 years ago | (#24182983)

Contraire: if material that Viacom says infringes were shown to have been uploaded by Viacom, Google could argue that either it doesn't infringe, or that Viacom was, in essence, trying to entrap Google/YouTube...

Re:How about looking for Viacom employees? (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 6 years ago | (#24183041)

It would matter only if all cases could be proved as such.

Re:How about looking for Viacom employees? (1)

speedtux (1307149) | more than 6 years ago | (#24183701)

It would also matter if only some videos were uploaded by Viacom employees because it would weaken some of their claims of harm and loss.

Re:How about looking for Viacom employees? (1)

atari2600 (545988) | more than 6 years ago | (#24182987)

It might be irrelevant to the lawsuit but doesn't it make Viacom appear in poor light. Google's lawyers might say that Viacom employees were getting paid to upload copyrighted content to Youtube to make Viacom's case. Alternatively if Viacom employees cannot help themselves, how can you expect an average teen to not upload? I can go on...

Oh and my understanding of the law is limited to Law and Order + John Grisham.

Re:How about looking for Viacom employees? (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 6 years ago | (#24183005)

Hopefully Google are doing it right now, just in case. I wonder if any Viacom employees have Gmail accounts, or use Google appliances to handle their intranet. Possibly worth a sniff there too. Just in case.

Re:How about looking for Viacom employees? (1)

pin0chet (963774) | more than 6 years ago | (#24183103)

Exactly, it's not like a Court has to give Google the right to examine its own logs. If Viacom-owned IP addresses were uploading Viacom's IP to YouTube, don't you think Google would have pointed that out by now in its lawsuit? The real issue is that without access to some of YouTube's logs, Viacom has no way of knowing if Google knowingly contributed to copyright infringement, and that question is central to Google's Safe Harbor defense.

Re:How about looking for Viacom employees? (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 6 years ago | (#24183337)

If Viacom-owned IP addresses were uploading Viacom's IP to YouTube, don't you think Google would have pointed that out by now in its lawsuit?

Or you know, if Google knew that, it would be better to wait near the end of this before proving that they did that. Plus, can't Google sue for entrapment if during this lawsuit a Viacom employee put some Viacom owned content on YouTube? I think it is more to Google's advantage to wait for a while.

Re:How about looking for Viacom employees? (1)

Arccot (1115809) | more than 6 years ago | (#24183029)

That's irrelevant to the current lawsuit.

Not really. If Google can prove Viacom employees, especially those on the clock or using Viacom computers, uploaded Viacom content that Viacom then claimed as infringing, that's a pretty strong argument for a fraudulent lawsuit.

Re:How about looking for Viacom employees? (1)

Achromatic1978 (916097) | more than 6 years ago | (#24183261)

What? No it's not. Since when ever has "But they do it too!" been a defense in a court of law?

It only means that Viacom could, should, take appropriate actions against their employees. Given that they're claiming the employer has liability, there's no point suing themselves, but just taking disciplinary action against their employees, perhaps termination, would be sufficient. After all, it's exactly what you'll find Google doing, if there are employees identified as a result.

Re:How about looking for Viacom employees? (1)

ZerMongo (1129583) | more than 6 years ago | (#24183363)

Not if Google can prove Viacom's employees were doing the same thing they're accusing Google employees of doing (see Pot v. Kettle).

In all seriousness, if Google can prove it's a common practice undertaken by the plaintiff themselves, it has a fairly substantial argument in its favor.

Re:How about looking for Viacom employees? (1)

SpeedyDX (1014595) | more than 6 years ago | (#24182929)

How would you know that they are not looking at their own employees? Seems like a good way to get "fair" grounds for dismissal.

Re:How about looking for Viacom employees? (1)

xtracto (837672) | more than 6 years ago | (#24183455)

I think it would be very very interesting if Google investigated not only Youtube Internet usage behavior of Viacom users, but what about searches and all the other information in their power.

It would be a really interesting thing to see the beast "awaken" when Google gets all the shit they can get against Viacom and throw it at them in the lawsuit...

Imagine... "oh yes... while looking at our logs looking for viacom stuff, we got all this bunch of searches done from viacom networks, at office hours, looking for child, animal, brazilian fart porn."

Hoist on own petard (4, Funny)

autophile (640621) | more than 6 years ago | (#24182825)

I'll bet Google is thinking that maybe keeping identifiable logs isn't such a good idea now...

why this is a good thing (3, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 6 years ago | (#24182831)

what the internet has done to intellectual property is pit the little guys against entrenched dying large corporate machines. usually all the little guy can do is run and hide. but when its corporate machine versus corporate machine cast in the role usually occupied by the little guy, this is good because google can throw clout into a fight where the little guy can only hope to be popped like a zit. so precedents can fly out of this that can protect the little guy

Re:why this is a good thing (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 6 years ago | (#24183011)

this is good because google can throw clout into a fight where the little guy can only hope to be popped like a zit. so precedents can fly out of this that can protect the little guy

or precedents which utterly destroy the big guys who provide what little clout there is for the little guy.

the laws are outdated (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 6 years ago | (#24183741)

were viacom to win, the laws would be protecting a dead status quo that will be ignored technologically anyways. were google to win, the law would suddenly be relevant again

its not possible to lose, just possible for the little guy to breathe a little easier and not worry about getting unlucky and suffering the occasional smackdown by a dying dinosaur

the laws on intellectual property are simply invalid in the age of the internet

ip laws are easily technologically circumvented. ip laws today exist solely as a means for large media corporations to take their frustrations out for becoming increasingly irrelevant
by financially destroying housewives and college kids

Re:why this is a good thing (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 6 years ago | (#24183013)

Here's a hint: Google will lose.
Sell your stock now.

Re:why this is a good thing (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 6 years ago | (#24183411)

Here's a hint: Google will lose. Sell your stock now.

Here's a hint: Viacom won't win
You should have sold your stock long ago

Just because Google loses doesn't mean that Viacom wins. Viacom is a dying company that has shown with prior actions and this lawsuit they can't adapt to the changing media environment. Google has throughout the years managed to constantly evolve to the changing internet. And the internet is the most hostile of all markets, anyone can create a search engine, unlike in media where you need a large studio, someway to broadcast it, and ad revenue.

Google may lose. But you can bet that Viacom won't win.

Google should comply with reciprocal clause. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24182837)

Google should comply but in return ask for all Viacom IPs and VPN IPs.

Why?

Because google needs to correlate searches Viacom staff have queried in regards to child pornography, warez, illegal MP3 downloads, terrorism, and other questionable activities.

Sure, maybe there aren't any. But Google needs this info in order to prosecute criminals at Viacom.

Re:Google should comply with reciprocal clause. (2, Informative)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 6 years ago | (#24182951)

It is not Google's job to prosecute or investigate anyone at Viacom.

If you would RTFA you would know that Google's ENTIRE defense rests on "we don't know what's going on". If they were to monitor searches for anything illegal, they have to monitor it for everything illegal. They CAN'T monitor searches or videos or comments for terrorist plots without also monitoring searches or videos or comments for copyrighted material.

Re:Google should comply with reciprocal clause. (3, Insightful)

Todd Knarr (15451) | more than 6 years ago | (#24183235)

But that's a good reason for Google to look for Viacom employees uploading infringing content. One defense Google can raise is "Plaintiff can't keep it's own employees from doing X. How can they then in all fairness expect us to do what they can't or won't?". And yes, judges do listen to arguments like that. It can leave a plaintiff having to walk a very fine line or risk having their demand thrown out as unreasonable (by their own admission) or barred.

Fishing expedition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24182861)

All this seems to be is a fishing expedition, to get names for potential lawsuits later on, like the RIAA pogrom.

GOOGLE SHOULD COUNTER!!! (0, Redundant)

DRAGONWEEZEL (125809) | more than 6 years ago | (#24182897)

Imagine what happens if google looks at how many viacom employees uploaded copyrighted works (on their own time?)...

Then what?

Missing the point (4, Interesting)

Achromatic1978 (916097) | more than 6 years ago | (#24182921)

So they're looking for Google employees doing the uploading, at Google (as determined by IP addresses).

If someone's employee goes above and beyond the call of duty to help you, that reflects on them as a company.

If the employee screws you over, that reflects on them as a company. Say a middle manager denies you your refund on a defective product. Now, to listen to several people above, "What problem is it of the store's that the manager ignored consumer protection laws?" - should the manager be sued or personally liable? Of course you'd go after the company.

If you get screwed by an employee out of their mandate (say, copying your credit card number down, something clearly not in their job description), you still don't go after the person. You'd be suing their employer for the actions of their employee on the job. Vicarious liability. (Of course, the employee would also be guilty of criminal charges.) Any loss inflicted on the company would either be picked up by civil suit between employer and employee or professional insurance, etc.

Why would this be any different?

Re:Missing the point (5, Informative)

danzona (779560) | more than 6 years ago | (#24183257)

I read TFA, and according to the article, the logic goes something like this:

Viacom: YouTube shows our copyrighted material. Google, you own YouTube and a lot of money, give us some of your money or else.
Google: Safe Harbor defense! Under the DMCA, we can't be held liable if somebody else posts copyrighted material on a site we host, if we don't know that these strangers are posting copyrighted material.

So Viacom thinks that if they can show that Google employees knowing posted copyrighted materials to YouTube, then Google won't be covered by the Safe Harbor defense.

This is what TFA says. I have no idea if that is what Viacom is actually doing, or if it would even work. But it is interesting.

Potentially explosive? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24182937)

Um, yeah. Because Viacom says so. No, I do not think so. So long as YouTube has complied with each DMCA request it has received (it has), then, nope, Viacom, you have no case. So, in summary, Viacom, you have no case.

Teach your cartel to buy laws from the Congress (the DMCA), since you can't always get what you want (although it has helped to stifle the internet significantly, setting back the rapid progess seen in the late nineties enough that 1-2 years then is about equal to 5-7 years now). Good show, and good job! Hey, Viacom, you should get a job at Comcast! Heh heh heh.

Youtube Videos on VH1 (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24182949)

Didn't VH1 used to have a weekly top 20 videos of the web? I'm sure they didn't have rights to all of those videos. If I had a video that made it on VH1 or any other Viacom channel, I would go after them in a heartbeat.

Tagged: FishingExpedition (-1, Offtopic)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 6 years ago | (#24182963)

These people at viacom remind me of those ultra-extremist conspiracy nutcases.

When OJ was on trial, they'd say things like "They took contracts out on themselves to cash in on their own life insurance!!11one"

After 9/11, they'd be talking about how the greys are trying to stir up conflict on earth so they can move in quietly and take over.

The fact these people's fishing expedition is being entertained in court is quite scary.

Which is just more evidence... (3, Insightful)

Der Huhn Teufel (688813) | more than 6 years ago | (#24183053)

...that they really don't care about their copyrights, they just want the cash. After all, why else would you go after the people with more money rather than the people with the most infringements.

Slashvertisement alert (1, Offtopic)

hrtserpent6 (806666) | more than 6 years ago | (#24183071)

Why is TFA from a UK site (which the submitter has as his link) when both companies are based in the US? Couldn't we use a more mainstream site like CNet or ZDNet? I mean, come on...

Employees != Google (3, Insightful)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 6 years ago | (#24183143)

...they're individuals. Doesn't this go against Viacom's original claim that they weren't trying to identify particular individuals?

Well... (1)

alexborges (313924) | more than 6 years ago | (#24183151)

Its the only thing that would make sense for their lawsuit.

Via says youtube profits from their content in a proactive manner. So this is a good way to prove it.

They need to make money some how. (1)

lantastik (877247) | more than 6 years ago | (#24183215)

When you are bleeding money like this [yahoo.com] , you have to do something. That's also why the NAB (which is just a lobbyist front for big media to maintain their monopoly) is trying so desperately to block the XM / Sirius merger.

Viacom has something entirely different in mind... (1)

MindPrison (864299) | more than 6 years ago | (#24183399)

They could not care less about the laggy, buggy, extremely-low quality you-tube ripoffs of their shows & movies.

Viacom is in financial trouble, and Google is big and have a lot of money. Viacom are already pretty known for being "big bad money bulleys", just google for those viacom satellite customers by the thousands that are forced to keep flawed subscriptions even though they don't use it - and Viacom has been up in the news several times for their "bullying" tactics of the common public.

Pure corporate greed - nothing else!

WTF (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24183431)

Google should just buy Viacom

Stupid stupid Viacom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24183577)

I've never ever seen a company quite so stupid. Viacom are really being idiots here. Publicity is good. Even bad publicity is good. What I would like to see is Google back-billing Viacom for providing services. 76000 people watched your stuff on our servers. Its your stuff. Viacom owes Google $25,758,536,000.00. Pay up immediately. As I have been watching my own viewing habits, and looking at shows Viacom carries, I don't watch any of their content. I don't know how many others do, but I don't. Now my second thought is this. If you are paying for (internet2/broadband), you are likely paying for TV too. So now why would you watch on the computer instead of watching TV instead? Certainly with TIVO, you can watch on demand to your hearts content, and even burn shows to disk that you would like to see again. Is this lawsuit really about "Our precious precious content", or is it really about "We would like the demographics of the 18-25 year olds at your site, but are cheap and don't want to pay for it". Based on the total amount of content at YouTube, VIACOM's content is massively small. Google should preen the information, making sure age information, income, gender and any information not directly related to VIACOM to be removed from the information given to VIACOM. After all, if its not directly related to VIACOM, then its not part of this.

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