Our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy have changed.

By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

Google's YouTube wins bitter Viacom battle

By Annalyn Censky, staff reporter


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Google triumphed in a nasty, three-year war with Viacom on Wednesday as a federal court ruled that Google's YouTube subsidiary is not liable for its users' copyright infringements.

A U.S. district court in New York ruled YouTube is covered by a "safe harbor" clause in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act that protects service providers from penalties for their users' copyright violations, as long as they address those violations once they're made aware of them.

"The provider must know of the particular case before he can control it," Judge Louis Stanton said in the ruling. "The provider need not monitor or seek out facts indicating such activity."

The ruling follows a years-long battle over copyright infringement that has featured heated bickering and vicious cussing. Viacom devoted an entire section of its online newsroom to chronicling the legal fight.

Viacom (VIA), the owner of MTV Networks and Paramount Pictures, maintained that Google bought YouTube knowing full well that the site was guilty of copyright infringement but turned a blind eye to users' violations. It asked for damages of $1 billion in its lawsuit.

The media company has said it believes Google should review content before it is posted, rather than waiting for copyright holders to request that Google remove illegal content.

Viacom did not respond immediately to a request for comment, but told other media outlets that it plans to appeal the ruling.

Google (GOOG, Fortune 500) announced the ruling on its official company blog Wednesday.

"This is an important victory not just for us, but also for the billions of people around the world who use the web to communicate and share experiences with each other," Kent Walker, Google vice president and general council, said on the blog.  To top of page

Index Last Change % Change
Dow 26,071.72 53.91 0.21%
Nasdaq 7,336.38 40.33 0.55%
S&P 500 2,810.30 12.27 0.44%
Treasuries 2.64 0.03 1.00%
Data as of 8:25pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
General Electric Co 16.26 -0.51 -3.04%
Bank of America Corp... 31.72 0.24 0.76%
Ford Motor Co 12.00 -0.07 -0.58%
Advanced Micro Devic... 12.59 0.12 0.96%
Micron Technology In... 42.75 -1.24 -2.82%
Data as of Jan 19
Sponsors

Sections

More than 5% of DACA recipients have started their own businesses since enrolling the program, according to a recent survey. More

A year ago, Trump promised to repeal Obamacare during his first year in office. That didn't happen, but the Trump administration has been successful at chipping away at the Affordable Care Act in other ways. Here's how. More

Amazon has announced its list of 20 cities that are finalists to host its second headquarters. But who will -- and who should -- win? More

Amazon has announced a list of 20 cities as potential locations for its second headquarters. The winner is likely to see a significant boost to its real estate market. More