Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Google and Viacom Finally Settle YouTube Lawsuit

Soulskill posted about 4 months ago | from the moving-at-the-speed-of-law dept.

Youtube 19

An anonymous reader sends word that Google and Viacom have settled their copyright lawsuit over videos posted to YouTube. The case has been ongoing for seven years, with Viacom initially demanding $1 billion and losing in court, but then successfully appealing. 'At the heart of the matter was whether YouTube was responsible for the copyrighted material its users posted on the site. In general, sites that host user-generated content are protected by the DMCA if they take swift action to remove offending content when it's reported. YouTube argued that it does remove this content, but Viacom's initial lawsuit said YouTube was hosting at least 160,000 unauthorized Viacom clips.' You may recall that Viacom was caught uploading some of the videos in question to YouTube themselves. The terms of the new settlement were not disclosed.

cancel ×

19 comments

Mega (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46522121)

Interesting that Google have no problem, but Mega get destroyed...

Re:Mega (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46522193)

Interesting that Google have no problem, but Mega get destroyed...

Mega got destroyed because it didn't bend to the entertainment industry assholes.
Youtube's policy is shoot first and then ask questions. They even monetise your content without your consent. Assholes with a A.
They're no different than the RIAA/MPAA thiefs.

Re:Mega (5, Informative)

Calavar (1587721) | about 4 months ago | (#46522217)

They even monetise your content without your consent

I know it's hip and all to say that Google can do only evil, but when you upload a video, you have the option to disable ads on that video. And if someone else uploads your content without your permission and enables ads, you can have it taken down.

Re:Mega (5, Insightful)

davester666 (731373) | about 4 months ago | (#46522259)

Sure. You're a little person. You can use a DMCA notice to do the takedown. Just like the law says.

But if you are big person, like Viacom, or any other multinational 'content creator', you get to be part of a private arrangement with Google, where Google will automatically flag content it thinks belongs to you, and at your option, will take it down or put up ads and give you all the revenue automatically. And if the person complains, you get to decide if the person has a valid complaint. Guess which way that goes.

Re:Mega (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46522667)

Yes, and then the uploader can assert her rights again. They can take it down again but only with a DMCA takedown notice, to which she can file a counter claim. Now the video stays up while the courts handle it. Ultimately she can defend it if the law is on her side.

Re:Mega (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46523771)

Yes, because the little guy is clearly going to be able to beat VIACOM in court.

Also, when referring to a person with unknown gender, acceptable pronoun options are "him/his/he" (traditionally, these have doubled as non-gendered pronouns) or "him or her/his or her/he or she." Some people also use the plural non-gendered forms (them/their/they), but those are grammatically incorrect. Also incorrect: using the female forms, as you did. I'm not going to speculate as to why you chose to do that, but it's not proper English.

Re:Mega (1)

swillden (191260) | about 4 months ago | (#46524343)

But if you are big person, like Viacom, or any other multinational 'content creator', you get to be part of a private arrangement with Google, where Google will automatically flag content it thinks belongs to you, and at your option, will take it down or put up ads and give you all the revenue automatically.

That has nothing to do with whether or not you're a "big person". It has to do with the amount of content you own. Unless you own tens of thousands of videos it's just not worth setting up that sort of arrangement.

And if the person complains, you get to decide if the person has a valid complaint.

Cite? AFAIK, if the uploader files a counter-notice, Google puts the video back up and the uploader and notice-filer get to fight it out in court. Granted that individuals are at a serious disadvantage when it comes to fighting multinationals in court, but that's hardly Google's fault.

Re:Mega (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46544343)

Um, no. Anyone can have such an "arrangement" with YouTube. You don't have to be a "big person."

Re:Mega (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46522999)

i know it's hip to come up with any, any possible justification on slashdot that excuses systems that encourage copyright violation, but taken as a whole, it is clear that google's system for takedown places undue burden on the copyrightholder. at the very least the law or google if it were truly cncerned about 'do no evil' would have a policy in place where IF a given upload is found to be infrinigng then

a) google would give at least half of the ad revenue generated from views of the item to the rightsholder
b) google would bend over backwards so that multiple offenders can't just 'sign up with a different' account.
c) google would police the most watched videos, as it is absoluitely trivial to find massive piracy just by searching for most viewed videos or simple terms like 'full movie.'

but of course, google has no interest. or rather, they don't care. they just keep the money.

any system that allows google to take in hundreds of millions by in effect being a facilitator for widescale infringement must be reviewed and SENSIBLE balances put into place (such as those that i recommend above). COPYRIGHT IS ABOUT BALANCE. Clearly, the current system is a joke as it places undue burden on rightsholder.

I also note that none of you have likely actually tried gogole's takedown process. it's deliberately slow and cumbersome and small rightsholders have found it very difficult to get teh 'contentids' necessary.' basically, by the time you jump through the hoops, the pirated item has been reposted again by somebody else, and the google see-no-evil-but-take-the-money charade starts anew.

The massive piracy was easy to find... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46524157)

it is absoluitely trivial to find massive piracy just by searching for most viewed videos or simple terms like 'full movie.'

It's even easier than that. ...or at least was, as my experience is from quite a few years ago.

It started after I discovered YouTube via following a link to some illegally posted content. After following a few links to some other illegal content, I came across a video someone uploaded that they created themselves. After watching several of these, I thought "these home-made videos are pretty awesome, someone should make a web site just for videos like these." It wasn't at all apparent that that was what YouTube was supposed to be for. I only eventually figured it out because it explained what had up until that point seemed like an odd choice of a name for the web site.

Anyway, I was determined to find the best of these home-made videos, but they were rather hard to find. Eventually I wrote a bot which did nothing but refresh the "latest videos" page for each category of video in order to become aware of every video uploaded to YouTube. I then applied some simple filtering to cut down on the huge number of videos, for example, by ignoring any video less than a few minutes long as it was usually just some nonsense someone recorded with their cell phone.

With the short videos removed, what remained was actually small enough that I was able to sort through it in my spare time. I didn't watch the videos, mind you -- only an idiot would sort through videos that way. I instead created listings showing the three thumbnails YouTube generated of each video. It was incredibly easy to find the illegal content this way, whether it be because of watermarks inserted by televisions, black bars at the top & bottom due to letterboxing, or the simple fact that professionally-produced videos are quite obviously different from videos people make at home.

There were of course a lot of other clues, like "season X episode Y" or the shorter "SxEy" in video titles, or "part 1 of x," but of course filtering out videos with such titles (and the same sorts of titles but in different languages) was one of the very first things I did as they made up the vast majority of the videos that were appearing in the listing of videos I was looking over every day.

Another not-so-obvious clue was any video that was very close to ten minutes long. Since videos were limited to a length of ten minutes, any video which was ten minutes long was likely one of the "part X of Y" types. It made limiting videos to ten minutes seem almost like a way to avoid having to notice uploads of full episodes of television series or movies, since without the limit such things would stick out like a sore thumb, with any "sort by length" index being page after page of illegally uploaded content. Anyway, even though I was looking for longer videos, I specifically filtered out any video more than 9 minutes long since it was almost certainly just more of the illegal content I wasn't looking for.

I managed to find quite a few awesome home-made videos during the month that I did this, but I also witnessed many of the people who created them simply take them down two weeks later after they failed to gather any views. Unfortunately becoming popular on YouTube has essentially nothing to do with the quality of your videos and everything to do with whether you're lucky enough that YouTube promotes your videos, whether by placing them on the main page, or ranking them highly in search results. I recall on one occasion searching for "cool video" out of boredom and finding a video with over 100,000 views which, as best I could tell (it was a rather unintelligible low-quality cell phone video) was just some dumbass enjoying some weed. Every single comment to the video hated it, but I guess it was ranked highly in the search results because it had a lot of views, nevermind that it had a lot of views only because it was ranked highly in the search results. Meanwhile, half of the high-quality home-made videos I found gathered so few views that I'm pretty sure no one besides myself and the person who uploaded the video ever viewed them.

The whole experience pretty much just made me hate YouTube. They could filter out illegal content easily -- I almost could have done it myself with only an hour a day of my time -- and they could do a lot more to better sort content so that quality content becomes popular rather than whatever content gets lucky in the search results, for example, by rating videos purely by viewer feedback and not at all by view count, and by providing categories that better categorize home-made videos (e.g., "blogs", "scripted" vs. "unscripted", etc.) rather than only categories that work for commercial content (e.g. "comedy", "drama", "sports", etc.) so that people could more easily find the sort of home-made content they were interested in viewing. The only conclusion I could come to was the same one Viacom came to: YouTube didn't care about hosting home-made videos but was instead far more interested in the more lucrative business of hosting illegally uploaded commercial content and pretending there was nothing they could do about it.

Every time someone complains that there are too many hours of video uploaded to YouTube for anyone to review, just remember that no one has to review it all. Simple statistics on meta-data can go a long way (that's why we hate the NSA after all) and for the difficult cases that the meta-data can't figure out, a static image of twenty randomly-generated thumbnails from a video will tell you almost as much about it as actually watching the video will, and someone can easily glance at several of those per second. Pay someone $10/hour to do that glancing and it only costs 0.1 cents per video.

Re:Mega (1)

alex67500 (1609333) | about 4 months ago | (#46523775)

You've got this the wrong way around. Mega's business case was to host *copyrighted material* available for people to view whilst making money off subscriptions and ads. Youtube's business case is to host *legal content* and monetise it (whilst providing its ad agency with information about you to better target ads, but that's beside the point). They may not be as fast as they should be to remove infringing content, but they do, and in good faith.

Re:Mega (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46526473)

good faith?

BOLLOCKS.

*HAVE YOU EVER TRIED THEIR PROCESS?*

It's cumbersome, slow, and ineffectual and designed to be exactly that. it's supposed to make sure that the money comes in to google while making the process exasperating for rightsholders (especially small ones) and ultimately utterly ineffectual except for *some* obvious copies of megacompanies' works. it's google adhering to the letter of the law only whiel still making massive profits off of piracy.

let's take a guess at what youtube's percentage of business is from pirated content. 5% 10% 50% we dont know. but any one of those numbers as a percentage of their overall sales is still a massive number.

no clear judgement... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46522483)

... means we lost. copyright bullies will not stop.

unacceptable (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46522529)

for a lawsuit that got so much press, it should be compulsory to disclose the outcome to the public. What i smell here is that they just found a nice way to make money and fuck the final user, but they wont tell how.

Re: unacceptable (3, Funny)

kayaker01 (3569597) | about 4 months ago | (#46523083)

Don't worry. Someone's daughter will post details of the settlement on Facebook.

Re: unacceptable (1)

paiute (550198) | about 4 months ago | (#46525605)

Don't worry. Someone's daughter will post details of the settlement on Facebook.

Should have posted it on MySpace. That way no one could successfully argue it was disclosed to the public.

obvious to me (1)

Fluffy the Destroyer (3459643) | about 4 months ago | (#46523541)

Viacom bitches at Youtube for copyright uploads but when you look at Viacom like most websites, they don't do enough to stop this compared to Youtube. It does take some knowledge to "download" a video of anyone on Youtube and not everyone or THAT little kid or grandma can do it. Youtube also have some tools available to prevent this like the content ID system and some report tools to help this. To me, this sounds like a big loss to Youtube and the copyright issues against people as well. This only means that companies could use this copyright lawsuit as a support document if someone wants to go against Youtube for copyright cases.

Re:obvious to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46524043)

OR someone at Viacom decided to make it go away. Viacom has a *huge* backlog of stuff they could be putting on the web. Youtube would be a good place to host it. They are literally letting the pirate bay have their advertising revenue as long as this went on. If I could click on say a spongebob episode and watch it in 5 seconds why would I bother to download it? Viacom is wasting thousands and thousands of advertising dollars for something they have to put pretty much some intern to manage.

what the hell? (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about 4 months ago | (#46525473)

"You may recall that Viacom was caught uploading some of the videos in question to YouTube themselves."
Must have been a pretty crooked judge to not charge them with obstruction of justice and throw the case out immediately.
Check for New Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...