updated 01:10 pm EDT, Thu April 5, 2012
Google must defend against Viacom again
Google was dealt a major setback after a court sided with Viacom's appeal to its loss against Google in a copyright lawsuit. The 2nd US Court of Appeals decided that a jury stood a reasonable possibility of finding that Google's YouTube knew there was bootleg material being uploaded to the site. Google was allowed a safe harbor provision guarding it against lawsuits for content it didn't know about, the appeals court said, but it wasn't certain whether or not Google was aware of specific content.
The same court has also asked for a definitive answer on the question of YouTube's operators being intentionally ignorant of any pirated material. Documents have suggested that YouTube staff were aware bootlegs were being uploaded, but haven't singled out any particular content.
Google has been more proactive about screening out illegally copied material through audio and visual signatures as well as methods to enable takedowns under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act; at the time of the lawsuit, it was already agreeing to take down videos when asked. Viacom has often taken a harsher stance, however, and has tried to paint a bleak picture where professional video itself was in danger if YouTube wasn't forced to scan every uploaded video.
Pirated material is still a significant concern on YouTube, but some have pointed to unintended benefits as it exposes music or videos to those who might not have taken notice otherwise. [via Reuters]