Viacom v. YouTube: YouTube Not Willfully Blind to Copyright Infringement

April 19, 2013

Viacom, a major player in both television and film, recently lost another round in its long-running, landmark copyright litigation against YouTube. In yet another attempt to hold YouTube liable for sharing Viacom’s content on its site, Viacom alleged that YouTube was willfully blind towards the infringement and therefore wasn’t entitled to summary judgment of no liability under the safe-harbor provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), 17 U.S.C. § 512(c). The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, however, disagreed.

Under the DMCA, a service provider is protected if, among other requirements, it does not have actual knowledge that the material or an activity using the material on the system or network is infringing. With YouTube claiming the 512(c) safe harbor, Viacom argued that it was YouTube’s burden to show a lack of knowledge or awareness of Viacom’s copyrighted clips. In support of its argument that YouTube could not claim the 512(c) safe harbor, Viacom pointed to YouTube’s inability to say which clips they knew about and which they did not. The Court, however, referencing the volume of material on YouTube and the virtually impossible policing problem, said that the DMCA places the burden on copyright owners to notify service providers of specific infringements and to prove knowledge, or willful blindness, for purposes of DMCA 512(c). Since YouTube has such a take-down policy, they cannot be held liable for the infringements.

If you have any questions about the DMCA or copyright law in general, please contact the attorneys at Woodard, Emhardt, Moriarty, McNett & Henry LLP.

Take Down Provisions: Copyright First. Now Trademark. What Next?

September 16, 2010

Below is a presentation that discusses how the take down provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) have been expanded to not only cover copyrights but other forms of intellectual property, such as trademarks, rights of publicity, patents, etc. The presentation compares the different take down procedures used by major websites as well as provides sample take down forms and policies. To view the presentation, visit: Take Down Provisions from Woodard, Emhardt, Henry, Reeves & Wagner, LLP