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 16,472.37 200.36 1.23%
Nasdaq 4,707.78 80.69 1.74%
S&P 500 1,951.36 27.54 1.43%
Treasuries 1.99 -0.05 -2.60%
Data as of 6:03pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 15.38 -0.17 -1.09%
Apple Inc 110.38 0.80 0.73%
Micron Technology In... 15.91 1.14 7.72%
General Electric Co 25.47 0.28 1.11%
Microsoft Corp 45.57 0.96 2.15%
Data as of Oct 2


The NFL is the world's richest sports league and by far the most popular sport in the U.S. But it has struggled to attract overseas fans. More

After years of talks, negotiators for the United States and 11 other nations are trying to hash out final terms of a controversial free-trade agreement. The Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, would make trade easier across many areas of business. More

Smarties, a Halloween candy staple, have been around for 66 years. Three Millennial women are revolutionizing it. More

Spending more than you make is bad for your finances, but other not-so-obvious money habits will hurt your long-term savings. More