Google, Viacom girding for a $1b fight
Google filed its answer to Viacom's lawsuit over copyright infringement on YouTube yesterday. No surprise that Google's theory is the DMCA's safe harbors provision. But anyone who thought that this suit was headed for a quick settlement will probably be disappointed. The AP reports that Google has hired Philip Beck as outside counsel, the lawyer who represented Bush in the 2000 election battle. Google demanded a jury trial in proceedings yesterday and the two sides are not in settlement talks.
In its response to the suit, Google said the suit "challenges the careful balance established by Congress when it enacted the Digital Millennium Copyright Act."
Under the safe harbors provisions of the act, Internet companies don't face civil liability for copyrght infringments of it users. Google said Viacom's attack on the DMCA is ironic considering entertainment and television companies were behind the law's passage in the first place.
"They were at the table when these things were being negotiated," he said. "Suddenly they don't want to live with the other end of the deal," said Google counsel Michael Kwun.
Michael Fricklas, general counsel for Viacom, said the DMCA doesn't apply to Google for several reasons.
"The DMCA doesn't apply if you have knowledge of an infringement," he said, noting that Viacom has sent Google more than 200,000 takedown notices. In addition, Fricklas said Google is deriving a financial benefit from Internet traffic generated by the attraction of copyrighted works.