Google is celebrating yet another significant litigation victory today, after a federal judge in New York ruled in favour of Google in the $1 billion claim made against them by Viacom. This follows Google’s recent victory in March this year in the case brought by Louis Vuitton about AdWords (see our Ad Guide).
Viacom sued Google in 2006, after its purchase of YouTube, on the basis that Google knowingly allowed copyright protected material, such as Viacom’s programmes, to be used on the YouTube website without permission and was thus infringing Viacom’s copyright. Viacom claimed Google was liable for "massive intentional copyright infringement" but the judge ruled that Google could not be held liable for having a general awareness that infringing material may be uploaded onto the site. In his decision, he stated that YouTube’s "notify and take down" policy allowed Google safe harbour protection under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act 1998, and therefore dismissed Viacom’s suit in summary judgment.
These two victories are certainly very useful to Google. The victory against Louis Vuitton allows them to retain their very lucrative AdWords search advertising policy, and this latest success seems to confirm YouTube as the world’s pre-eminent video-sharing site, with all the revenue raising possibilities that this entails.