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Google Slams Viacom For Secret YouTube Uploads

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the when-back-channels-collide dept.

Youtube 307

An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from Reuters: "Google, Inc. accused Viacom, Inc. of secretly uploading its videos to YouTube even as the media conglomerate publicly denounced the online video site for copyright infringement, according to court documents made public on Thursday." As "statements from the corporate counsel's office" go, this post on the YouTube blog is pretty hot reading.

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307 comments

Wow. (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31528982)

Google has become quite outspoken. I guess they are big enough that they do not have to scratch anyone's back anymore. I like this approach - Google has the power to change people's perceptions of companies (and countries) seeing as how they do control a large chunk of the flow of information on the Internet.

Re:Wow. (4, Insightful)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#31529116)

While they do this they're changing people's perception of Google as well ... and not always for the better.

Re:Wow. (5, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 4 years ago | (#31529948)

While they do this they're changing people's perception of Google as well ... and not always for the better.

Who would you rather have controlling a large chunk of the flow of information on the internet, Google, or Viacom?

I can understand the consternation that has sometimes arisen regarding Google, but I think some of it might be because we're not used to transnational corporations acting like anything but rapacious, greedy monsters who hate their own customers and would sell weapons to Al-Qaeda if it meant a 2% bump in quarterly profits.

Google may be far from perfect, but they're also far from your average transnational spawn of Satan.

Re:Wow. (2, Interesting)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 4 years ago | (#31530188)

Who would you rather have controlling a large chunk of the flow of information on the internet, Google, or Viacom?

Tough Choice.

I don't trust Google.

Viacom wants to make money and protect its IP.

I'm not sure what Google wants...

Re:Wow. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31529154)

Too bad they cannot just file that blog post (with a bunch of attached items to confirm their statements) as their legal response to the suit.

If Viacom wins (2, Insightful)

Blackneto (516458) | more than 4 years ago | (#31528996)

If Viacom wins there isn't anything that cannot be bought.

Incredible blunder for Viacom (0, Redundant)

Presto Vivace (882157) | more than 4 years ago | (#31529246)

they look like idiots.

Re:If Viacom wins (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31529486)

If Viacom wins there isn't anything that cannot be bought.

Including a night with yo mama.

I dont know what is an 'oops' situation if this (0, Offtopic)

unity100 (970058) | more than 4 years ago | (#31528998)

isnt one.

Re:I dont know what is an 'oops' situation if this (0, Offtopic)

dotancohen (1015143) | more than 4 years ago | (#31529044)

isnt one.

A wedding picture with the tampoon string hanging out. Definite oops. Or this [xkcd.com] .

Re:I dont know what is an 'oops' situation if this (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31529282)

xkcd is painfully unfunny.

Re:I dont know what is an 'oops' situation if this (4, Funny)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 4 years ago | (#31529352)

you misunderstood; posting an xkcd link is the "oops."

Re:I dont know what is an 'oops' situation if this (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31529394)

xkcd is painfully unfunny.

and you're painfully retarded. seriously, it hurts even to think about how retarded you are.

like, you're making Trig Palin look very, very smart by comparison.

Re:I dont know what is an 'oops' situation if this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31529554)

xkcd is painfully unfunny.

and you're painfully retarded. seriously, it hurts even to think about how retarded you are.

like, you're making Trig Palin look very, very smart by comparison.

This is the sort of shit that people who read xkcd find amusing.

Re:I dont know what is an 'oops' situation if this (5, Insightful)

causality (777677) | more than 4 years ago | (#31529680)

xkcd is painfully unfunny.

and you're painfully retarded. seriously, it hurts even to think about how retarded you are.

like, you're making Trig Palin look very, very smart by comparison.

This is the sort of shit that people who read xkcd find amusing.

Eh, there's a difference between reading it and finding it amusing ... and feeling a need to bring it up in every possible discussion and work it into every conversation, like some kind of obsession. I think what you're talking about applies to the latter and not the former.

Xkcd is pretty good, and for the most part I can appreciate its humor. However, it's not so good that I want to see it in every single Slashdot story. If anything, that's a great way to make me not want to read it. Turning something into another mindless meme is not a great way to promote it. This thread indicates I'm not the only one who feels that way.

Re:I dont know what is an 'oops' situation if this (1)

Tom9729 (1134127) | more than 4 years ago | (#31529862)

It's times like these that make me wish for modpoints because I am 100% in agreement with you. Xkcd is one of the few webcomics I read (along with Penny Arcade and Dinosaur Comics) but I'm starting to wish the editors would just post the "obligatory xkcd" along with TFS to get it over with.

Re:I dont know what is an 'oops' situation if this (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31529952)


Eh, there's a difference between reading it and finding it amusing ... and feeling a need to bring it up in every possible discussion and work it into every conversation, like some kind of obsession.

That's what SHE said!

Re:I dont know what is an 'oops' situation if this (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31530032)

No, he's right. Compare the first 80 strips to the newer ones, you'll see that it was funny on the start but it isn't anymore (or at least wasn't, I don't read it anymore).
I blame the memes and internet fame.

Re:I dont know what is an 'oops' situation if this (-1, Troll)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 4 years ago | (#31529482)

Says the dimwitted AC.

Re:I dont know what is an 'oops' situation if this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31529548)

Posting AC was probably a wise decision.

Re:I dont know what is an 'oops' situation if this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31529574)

What an insightful post. Thank you for blessing us with your wisdom.

Re:I dont know what is an 'oops' situation if this (0, Offtopic)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 4 years ago | (#31529996)

You're welcome. I always try to help those less fortunate.

Re:I dont know what is an 'oops' situation if this (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31529742)

Based on the 10 or so strips I've seen, I agree. They were all as dull as plain toasted white bread.

Re:I dont know what is an 'oops' situation if this (2, Funny)

u38cg (607297) | more than 4 years ago | (#31529598)

For years, Viacom continuously and secretly uploaded its content to YouTube, even while publicly complaining about its presence there. It hired no fewer than 18 different marketing agencies to upload its content to the site. It deliberately "roughed up" the videos to make them look stolen or leaked. It opened YouTube accounts using phony email addresses. It even sent employees to Kinko's to upload clips from computers that couldn't be traced to Viacom. And in an effort to promote its own shows, as a matter of company policy Viacom routinely left up clips from shows that had been uploaded to YouTube by ordinary users. Executives as high up as the president of Comedy Central and the head of MTV Networks felt "very strongly" that clips from shows like The Daily Show and The Colbert Report should remain on YouTube.

Words...they fails me.

Busted (5, Funny)

longacre (1090157) | more than 4 years ago | (#31529014)

I always suspected lonelygirl15 was actually Andy Rooney. This seems to confirm it.

kinda like that xkcd strip: (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31529062)

"GeoIP" [goatkcd.com]

Mod parent up! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31529376)

xkcd is always related.

ebbil jenius (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31529822)

kudos, sir! I'd like to paypal you a beer

Viacom - the verb (4, Insightful)

CdBee (742846) | more than 4 years ago | (#31529082)

This story illustrates a whole new sort of corporate stupidity. I propose from now on that such an action should be known as Viacomming, drawn from a new verb. To Viacom. Definition - to stab yourself in both feet by litigating against your own principal shopfront.

Re:Viacom - the verb (2, Informative)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#31529144)

I do hereby second this motion. Can we get a floor vote?

Re:Viacom - the verb (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31529212)

Voting yea. "Viacomming" has a great ring to it.

Re:Viacom - the verb (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31529276)

and Viacumming is what then?

In the words of Jon Stewart... (1)

copponex (13876) | more than 4 years ago | (#31529258)

COCK [thedailyshow.com]

Re:Viacom - the verb (1)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 4 years ago | (#31529260)

Aye!

Re:Viacom - the verb (5, Funny)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 4 years ago | (#31529420)

floor votes are so pre-hope and change. Let's just deem it.

Re:Viacom - the verb (1)

dimeglio (456244) | more than 4 years ago | (#31529776)

Strauss, Erwin S. How to start your own country, ISBN 0-915179-01-6

Youtubeland, I'd move there.

Re:Viacom - the verb (3, Insightful)

dunezone (899268) | more than 4 years ago | (#31529216)

Viacomming - failing to adapt to new technology and current trends of a growing demographic.
Synonyms: RIAA, NBC

Re:Viacom - the verb (5, Funny)

brennz (715237) | more than 4 years ago | (#31529254)

Would you happen to know of a bathroom nearby, I think I need to take a SCO.

Re:Viacom - the verb (4, Funny)

krou (1027572) | more than 4 years ago | (#31529324)

I shall only agree to this when I get proof of the Second Viacomming.

Re:Viacom - the verb (1)

raddan (519638) | more than 4 years ago | (#31529498)

Oh, but Sony's been doing it for years!

Re:Viacom - the verb (5, Interesting)

c++0xFF (1758032) | more than 4 years ago | (#31529596)

I think it's worse than that:

For years, Viacom continuously and secretly uploaded its content to YouTube, even while publicly complaining about its presence there. It hired no fewer than 18 different marketing agencies to upload its content to the site. It deliberately "roughed up" the videos to make them look stolen or leaked. It opened YouTube accounts using phony email addresses. It even sent employees to Kinko's to upload clips from computers that couldn't be traced to Viacom.

It seems that Viacom purposefully uploaded these files to invalidate the whole concept of YouTube. "See how much of our stuff is uploaded! They can't filter it out! They have to be shut down!"

It's almost like dumping a much of random nails in the street and then suing the government for not cleaning the streets properly.

This article is definitely worth reading.

Re:Viacom - the verb (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31529980)

It seems that Viacom purposefully uploaded these files to invalidate the whole concept of YouTube. "See how much of our stuff is uploaded! They can't filter it out! They have to be shut down!"

Nope. Viacom realized the value of marketing their shows on youtube, which HELPS VIACOM MAKE MONEY. By having lots of people uploading clips of their favorite shows, it boosts the popularity & coolness of the show.

Since this was a secret astroturf [wikipedia.org] project, Viacom had to have their regular DMCA people prowl youtube to remove the clips.

This is not unlike payola, where a record label pays a radio station to promote sales of music. Except without the payment. Maybe I need a car analogy...

viatube? (1)

leuk_he (194174) | more than 4 years ago | (#31529656)

viatube.com still is for sale.

something like only 1 Billion dollar.

Oblig quote (5, Funny)

PPH (736903) | more than 4 years ago | (#31529110)

Captain Renault: "I'm shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!"
Croupier: "Your winnings, sir. ."

Re:Oblig quote (3, Funny)

Penguinshit (591885) | more than 4 years ago | (#31530112)

*AA Executive: "Our business model has been shot!"

*AA Lawyer: "Round up the usual suspects."

Smells like bullshit (0, Redundant)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#31529198)

What proof does YouTube have that any videos were actually uploaded by Viacom?

RTFA, perhaps? Nah, then you can't just say BS. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31529242)

"As a result, on countless occasions Viacom demanded the removal of clips that it had uploaded to YouTube, only to return later to sheepishly ask for their reinstatement."

Re:RTFA, perhaps? Nah, then you can't just say BS. (5, Funny)

PPH (736903) | more than 4 years ago | (#31529566)

Grandpa is starting to have moments like this.

Re:There may be a darker side to this (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31529582)

How many uploads classified as breaches of copyright may be attributable to the copyright holders, issued in an attempt to push through shutdown and enforcement legislation?
Also let us not forget that Google has just announced Google TV thus made some fresh enemies. I used to think Google was just pretending to be the good guys, but I have to admit that as of recent developments they deserve kudos.

Brin baby: I'm sorry I once stated you must be smoking crack, I was wrong.

Re:There may be a darker side to this (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 4 years ago | (#31529660)

he is probably both smoking crack, and doing these things, just like many of those who read these pages.

Re:RTFA, perhaps? Nah, then you can't just say BS. (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#31529708)

I did RTFA. Viacom retracting a takedown request doesn't prove they put up the clip in the first place. It may also indicate that they were mistaken about the contents of the clip, or simply didn't know that the clip was actually authorized. The question of whether or not these clips damaged Viacom's business model is an open issue. On the one hand, it's free advertising for Viacom; on the other hand, it may be displacing some ad revenue. I don't think any sane person believes damages to Viacom are anywhere close to the $1 billion they are asking for.

Re:RTFA, perhaps? Nah, then you can't just say BS. (3, Interesting)

Todd Knarr (15451) | more than 4 years ago | (#31530068)

If Viacom were just retracting their requests, Google's lawyers wouldn't be making the statement they did. It'd have to be one of Viacom's people writing Google saying "Hey, what happened to the videos we uploaded? The page says it was taken down because of a DMCA complaint.". And Google going "Oh reeeeeeally. That's odd, the DMCA complaint was from Viacom too. Left hand and right hand not talking much?". Followed by Google's lawyers getting together with Google's engineers to do a little data mining.

Re:RTFA, perhaps? Nah, then you can't just say BS. (4, Informative)

Dalambertian (963810) | more than 4 years ago | (#31530086)

From the memorandum:

Viacom employees have made special trips away from the company’s premises (to places like Kinko’s) to upload videos to YouTube from computers not traceable to Viacom. See Schapiro Ex. 47 (158:2022); see also Schapiro Exs. 48, 49.

Re:Smells like bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31529268)

Can't be any worse than the proof Viacom has that YouTube maliciously left them up.

Re:Smells like bullshit (5, Insightful)

Todd Knarr (15451) | more than 4 years ago | (#31529304)

At the very least they'll have copies of the requests from Viacom to restore the videos that Viacom demanded be taken down, and most likely Google required that those requests state exactly why Viacom has the authority to make that video available. They also probably traced the IP addresses, odds on more than a few times somebody slipped up and uploaded videos from an IP traceable to a machine belonging to Viacom or one of it's marketing companies. The marketers have no dog in this fight, if Google's gone to them with apparent proof that they've been uploading Viacom's videos the marketers won't have any qualms about pulling out their authorization from Viacom to cover themselves.

Google hires some pretty good lawyers. I doubt they'd be making such a strong statement in a legal action if they didn't already have what they needed to back it up.

Re:Smells like bullshit (5, Insightful)

cptdondo (59460) | more than 4 years ago | (#31529622)

Never, ever screw with a company that's in the business of collecting information. Heck, that's Google's *ONLY* business.

The crunching sound you hear is viacom stepping on its own dick.

Re:Smells like bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31529802)

sure sounds like viacom is well hung

Re:Smells like bullshit (1)

hkmwbz (531650) | more than 4 years ago | (#31530234)

I would have thought that the sound of that would be more of a soft, limp, squishy one...

Re:Smells like bullshit (1)

Dan667 (564390) | more than 4 years ago | (#31529910)

actually, if you are a lawyer working for Google this has to be really fun. Google is providing information to not just win, but to stomp viacom mercilessly for weeks. Lawyers enjoy about nothing else more than that.

Re:Smells like bullshit (1)

c++0xFF (1758032) | more than 4 years ago | (#31530118)

The point is that it's nearly impossible to determine if the person who uploaded the files was authorized. Youtube (apparently) has evidence that they purposefully tried to obscure the source of the upload, making the files look like they were pirated.

Youtube is simply pointing out the contradictions and hypocrisy in all this.

Re:Smells like bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31530202)

If they can prove it was Viacom that uploaded the material then legally those particular copies were by definition, authorized. We've seen that in other court rulings. But yes, the point here is to demonstrate bad faith on the part of Viacom.

call me naive (2, Insightful)

Presto Vivace (882157) | more than 4 years ago | (#31529312)

but it is difficult to believe a corporate legal counsel would post something like that if he could not prove it six ways to Sunday. Indeed, while I am not a lawyer, I would think that Google has grounds to counter sue. As a PR person I am embarrassed for my profession.

Re:call me naive (5, Funny)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 4 years ago | (#31529520)

As a PR person I am embarrassed for my profession.

You should be quite used to that.

Re:call me naive (1)

Presto Vivace (882157) | more than 4 years ago | (#31529884)

very droll

Re:call me naive (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 4 years ago | (#31530124)

the PR profession needs a good PR person

Re:call me naive (1)

Presto Vivace (882157) | more than 4 years ago | (#31530178)

actually there are ways Viacom [blogspot.com] could have generated online activity without resorting to sock puppets.

Re:call me naive (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31529640)

As a PR person I am embarrassed for my profession.

You know what your industry needs? A good PR person to spin your image for you.

Re:call me naive (1)

causality (777677) | more than 4 years ago | (#31529758)

but it is difficult to believe a corporate legal counsel would post something like that if he could not prove it six ways to Sunday. Indeed, while I am not a lawyer, I would think that Google has grounds to counter sue. As a PR person I am embarrassed for my profession.

Don't worry. In all likelihood, Viacom's PR staff will find a way to spin this and make them look like the good guys, whether they deserve that image or not, whether extremely one-sided presentation of facts, selective omission of facts, and heavy usage of weasel words is required or not. Then you can once again be proud of your profession.

Seriously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31529338)

Viacom must be run by the biggest bunch of idiots around. They're trying to pull a fast on on a company that has, essentially, become the central corridor for information in North America. I'd be surprised if Google didn't know about it.

Re:Seriously? (1)

CorporateSuit (1319461) | more than 4 years ago | (#31529500)

Meanwhile, at Google, several workers are standing around the search logs from Viacom's business IP address, giggling:

IP laywers in Hollwyood
youtube viacom
youtube cartoon network
youtube comedy central
youtube venture brothers
youtube venture brothers porn
venture brother porn
venture brothers dean naked
what state do judges hate youtube most
penis enlargers
are there any judges who hate youtube
judge who worked at viacom
youtube venutre brothers

Re:Seriously? (1)

hrimhari (1241292) | more than 4 years ago | (#31529654)

Ever heard about News Corp or Mr. Murdock?

Re:Seriously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31529752)

I remember News Corp et al doing a lot of huffing, puffing, and hand-wringing, and then... nothing. Not a thing. Murdoch's chest-thumping was a paper tiger. They know better than to pull their results from Google.

Re:Smells like bullshit (1)

newcastlejon (1483695) | more than 4 years ago | (#31529472)

Their IPs? I'm assuming they weren't stupid enough to have Viacom for their u/n...

Re:Smells like bullshit (1)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 4 years ago | (#31529860)

Exactly how smart do you think the PR people at Viacon, excuse me, Viacom, are?

Can they have it both ways? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31529228)

So YouTube is saying we don't know who put this stuff here, but we know *you* put that stuff over here. I'm not defending Viacom, but it seems at odds to say "We can't be held responsible because we are confused about who did what or who is authorized to do what, but we know every little detail about how Viacom uploaded content, even when they did it from Kinkos." Doesn't make sense to me.

Re:Can they have it both ways? (4, Insightful)

grumbel (592662) | more than 4 years ago | (#31529296)

The problem isn't that Youtube doesn't know who uploads stuff, but that they can't tell if the person that is uploading stuff is authorized to do so.

Re:Can they have it both ways? (4, Insightful)

Parallax48 (990689) | more than 4 years ago | (#31529526)

Further - they cannot afford to do this sort of investigation on every single one of the millions of videos on Youtube.

http://techcrunch.com/2009/05/20/every-minute-just-about-a-days-worth-of-video-is-uploaded-to-youtube/ [techcrunch.com]

I imagine that they have only had the resources to investigate a sample of the alleged videos well after the fact.

Re:Can they have it both ways? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31529552)

Exactly. As they point out, even the video of your cousin's wedding is subject to copyright. If I take the video and post it, no problem. If you copy the file off my computer and post it, problem. How is YouTube to know who the copyright holder is?

Re:Can they have it both ways? (1)

Dan667 (564390) | more than 4 years ago | (#31529940)

if the account has a viacom ip address or a marketing company ip address and there is a pattern it will be pretty evident.

Re:Can they have it both ways? (3, Insightful)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 4 years ago | (#31530250)

I think that if even Viacom can't get its act together and figure out which one of its own properties is supposed to be on Youtube, it's illogical to demand that Youtube should figure it out.

To get back to the example of the GP, the technical side of figuring out who uploaded something is entirely feasible. The problem is that that information has little to no bearing on whether that person was authorized by the copyright holder to upload the content in question.

I'm getting the impression that this is indeed nothing more that Viacom going on a legal fishing expedition. I'd love to see them slapped with a counter-suit, but am not holding my breath.

Re:Can they have it both ways? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 4 years ago | (#31529454)

I am going to bet they found the evidence in emails/records during discovery or they have an inside source.

Re:Can they have it both ways? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31529590)

Leave it to Viacom executives to conduct company business using their Gmail addresses. Doh!

Re:Can they have it both ways? (1)

mea37 (1201159) | more than 4 years ago | (#31530060)

I don't see any contradiction. They've had years to research Viacom's complaints. As they investigate individual incidents, and find funny business related to some of those individual incidents, they compile them and form the basis for this filing. That's a far cry from being able to produce similar details comprehensively about every upload in real time.

We don't know how long it took to document any given incident. We don't know what expense was involved. We don't know what lucky breaks they needed; it could well be that for every incident they have documented, another - or 10 more, or 100 more, etc. - might exist where they couldn't get any evidence of what really happeend.

prove it with documentation, and DMCA can be gutte (-1, Offtopic)

swschrad (312009) | more than 4 years ago | (#31529234)

which is a big step forward towards doing what the megacopyright holders want... getting after the thugs who are stealing their content.

not the figurative street signs, phone booths, and waste cans that are getting in the way and getting whaled on by the megacopyright holders. for the YouTubes of the world are the equivalent of the graffito-ed walls, and the content theives are the real lawbreakers here.

suing the walls (server holders) is not an answer. it's a public tantrum.

Re:prove it with documentation, and DMCA can be gu (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31529518)

Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot. ?

I'm certain at least some of those words were English, but those were not sentences.

Two words for Viacom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31529284)

"Unclean Hands"

Actually those are the words Google's going to be using in front of a judge. Shit, they could have a pretty strong counterclaim. If what Google's saying is true, Viacom absolutely screwed the pooch on this.

Captcha: "owners". More like pwners.

Re:Two words for Viacom (5, Informative)

bmo (77928) | more than 4 years ago | (#31529878)

http://definitions.uslegal.com/u/unclean-hands/ [uslegal.com]

"The clean hands doctrine is a rule of law that someone bringing a lawsuit or motion and asking the court for equitable relief must be innocent of wrongdoing or unfair conduct relating to the subject matter of his/her claim. It is an affirmative defense that the defendant may claim the plaintiff has "unclean hands". However, this defense may not be used to put in issue conduct of the plaintiff unrelated to plaintiff's claim. Therefore, plaintiff's unrelated corrupt actions and general immoral character would be irrelevant. The defendant must show that plaintiff misled the defendant or has done something wrong regarding the matter under consideration. The wrongful conduct may be of a legal or moral nature, as long as it relates to the matter in issue."

Oooh I've got an idea! (4, Funny)

Ossifer (703813) | more than 4 years ago | (#31529370)

Tonight I'm gonna sneak my TV onto my neighbor's yard, and then call the cops on him tomorrow morning.

Dirty thief!

Re:Oooh I've got an idea! (1)

CHK6 (583097) | more than 4 years ago | (#31529484)

Don't forget to later tell your neighbour when he's in court, that you want to give him the tv.

Re:Oooh I've got an idea! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31530092)

You jest, but it's a credible theory that Viacom was in fact trying to frame YouTube for the hosting of actual pirated materials, with the eventual goal of shutting them down entirely, thereby (in Viacom's mind) removing a threat to their business model. (YouTube's post doesn't go beyond suggesting that Viacom was merely astroturfing for the free advertisement.)

As long as it's possible that Viacom was acting with malice towards YouTube, rather than with dishonest greed for publicity, this will obliterate their credibility in any future infringement lawsuits. Viacom has a motive to fabricate a copyright beef and they have now demonstrated the means and inclination; any claim they make about a future infringement on YouTube is automatically suspicious. IANAL, but it would be nice if, any time Viacom makes a legal claim against a YouTube video, the burden were on them to prove that they did not post it themselves before they can claim to have standing to sue. Is this too much fairness to hope from copyright law?

Re:Oooh I've got an idea! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31530252)

Tonight I'm gonna sneak my TV onto my neighbor's yard, and then call the cops on him tomorrow morning.

Face it towards the street. You'll have better chance of him getting sued for publicly broadcasting copyrighted material.

Throw a physical LoC at 'em (1)

magus_melchior (262681) | more than 4 years ago | (#31529536)

I'm no lawyer, but if Google can substantiate this claim with evidence, at the very least it'll really hurt their ability to convince the judge:

For years, Viacom continuously and secretly uploaded its content to YouTube, even while publicly complaining about its presence there. It hired no fewer than 18 different marketing agencies to upload its content to the site. It deliberately "roughed up" the videos to make them look stolen or leaked. It opened YouTube accounts using phony email addresses. It even sent employees to Kinko's to upload clips from computers that couldn't be traced to Viacom. And in an effort to promote its own shows, as a matter of company policy Viacom routinely left up clips from shows that had been uploaded to YouTube by ordinary users. Executives as high up as the president of Comedy Central and the head of MTV Networks felt "very strongly" that clips from shows like The Daily Show and The Colbert Report should remain on YouTube.

At the very least, if Google can prove this, they have a battery of arguments that say Viacom acted in bad faith. It might not be proof of blunder on the order of SCO's vacuous litigation, but it will certainly piss the judge off against Viacom.

If I were the judge... well, see the comment title (LoC = Library of Congress).

Re:Throw a physical LoC at 'em (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31529874)

(I am not a lawyer, but from the looks of it, YouTube ain’t hurtin’ for damn good legal advice anyways.)

On the contrary, they have stated hundreds of times per day, that they: “have a good faith belief that use of the copyrighted materials described above as allegedly infringing is not authorised by the copyright owner, his/her agent or the law”.

So if you can actually prove bad faith—as in, they did it themselves on a regular basis, explicitly asked external PR agencies to do this (records of such documentation would surely have been kept by the agency to cover their own backs) and should reasonably have known—then, well

Also, they “swear, under penalty of perjury, that the information in the notification is accurate and that [they are] the copyright owner or [are] authorised to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed”. [Emphasis mine.]

You’d better believe Google will have documentation backing this up; there is no way in hell a corporate counsel would have said this unless they held the smoking gun and it still smelled of cordite. This one should be fun. Viacom are, hopefully, about to get their ass kicked

Three cheers for good writing (5, Insightful)

goodmanj (234846) | more than 4 years ago | (#31529682)

Wow. Facts aside, this is the clearest, most straightforward legal/PR writing I've read in years. Makes the point with no dodging and evasion, no complicated jargon, it's short, clear, and on point.

Kids, if you ever wonder why English 101 is mandatory at your college, this is why: so maybe someday you'll be able to write like this.

Re:Three cheers for good writing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31530154)

Kids, if you ever wonder why English 101 is mandatory at your college, this is why: so maybe someday you'll be able to write like this.

Unless it's supposed to be some kind of aversion therapy, the purpose of most English classes (college or any other level) I have observed/attended is to ensure you will not ever write like that.

Re:Three cheers for good writing (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 4 years ago | (#31530156)

The primary factor in the clarity of this story is most likely that it's all true.

Things get weird when people are trying to bend light around the facts to hide them.

Re:Three cheers for good writing (4, Interesting)

bmo (77928) | more than 4 years ago | (#31530260)

Off Topic, but whatever. If a mod wants to waste his points on this post, go right ahead. I maxed out on karma a decade ago.

English 101 doesn't teach you how to write.

I have never ever had an English class where I was taught how to write. It was always by the seat of my pants. All writing in high school was geared at writing the "term paper" resulting in my complete inability to write anything but the most boring, stultifying, coma-inducing drek on the planet. Indeed, we were taught something called the "term paper method." The only thing this taught me is that I could never have an original opinion unless I could cite someone else saying it, parrot it, and leave a listing in the bibliography.

This left me literate but crippled.

None of it was geared to how I could express myself. I had to be out of school for 5 years for that to happen; writing every day in the Marquis De Sade school of writing known as BBS networks (Fight-O-Net) hanging out in the debate oriented message bases. I can also credit the local BBSes that had things like "The Never Ending Story."

When I did eventually go back to school, I took College Writing and found all I had to do was defenstrate some bad habits to get an A on a paper. Thanks Fidonet!

--
BMO

Re:Three cheers for good writing (1)

SpeedyDX (1014595) | more than 4 years ago | (#31530274)

Off-topic:
While education certainly plays a big part in helping people learn how to write, I think that true progress has to be intrinsically motivated. Some people can write perfectly coherent basic essays, but once they're required to break out of the standard tripartite format, they are no longer able to write anything in a comprehensible way. Over and above education, I think we need to encourage children to read and write more (if done when they're young, we may succeed in creating intrinsic motivations within them to read/write). Reading is where you're exposed to different writing styles, and writing is where you develop your own. That's why I think that blogs are A Good Thing despite most of them being inane drivel. It encourages writing, which hopefully will have significant long term benefits in improving the quality of written communications.

On-topic:
A lot of legal writing that I've been exposed to (I've been exposed to a reasonable amount, being a criminology/ethics/law student) have been pretty well written, mostly as clear as this blog post. The difference is that this particular topic includes language that is pretty familiar to /. and is relatively new to law. The reason why "legalese" is hard to read is because many legal definitions stretch back decades, and even more of them stretch back centuries. Legal writing tends to continue using old terms that have been established in the past, because a change in the word may be interpreted as a change in what's referenced.

At any event, Mr. Levine did a good job in expressing YT's side of the story. If true, I hope Viacom really gets what's coming from the presiding judge.

TFA is brilliant (1)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 4 years ago | (#31530276)

The article itself is brilliant. I don't see where Viacom has a leg to stand on. But strange things happen in lawsuits.

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