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'I Know You(Tube) Are, But What Am I!': SJ Briefs Unsealed in Viacom Case

Yesterday, the Southern District of New York unsealed the dueling summary judgment briefs in the mega-copyright case of Viacom v. YouTube. And the blawgers are abuzz.

Eric Goldman at the Technology & Marketing Law Blog has a very thorough breakdown of the arguments, pulling out some choice highlights and even giving readers handy page references. Some examples: YouTube takes Viacom to task for not even being able to keep track itself of which clips it had authorized for posting and which it hadn't and exposes in some detail Viacom's use of a boatload of marketing firms to "stealth upload" clips, even making them look degraded in quality. To avoid being traced, Viacom apparently sent its own employees to Kinko's to upload clips to YouTube.

For its part, Viacom did a decent job in getting some juicy material in discovery. Like the fact that one of the founders of YouTube, Jawed Karim, was scolded by his colleagues for uploading pirated material himself. And that YouTube management estimated that 75-80 percent of the site's content was unauthorized. Oh, and that YouTube personnel referred to their baby as a "video Grokster." Eesh.

Big picture, Goldman observes that the briefs "largely talked past each other," since YouTube's brief is focused on the here and now, while Viacom's attacks are soooo 2006. Based on his reading, it sounds like YouTube got more bang for its buck -- and I'm sure parent company Google spent quite a few of them -- out of the briefing. Goldman's post is well worth checking out if you're a Digital Millennium Copyright Act junkie. Or if you're just really concerned about the continued online availability of those lost "South Park" clips.

Over at Ars Technica, Nate Anderson has a pretty comprehensive post on the briefing as well. He explores the allegations, or at least intimations, that YouTube and Google might have been involved in some funny business as regards preservation of e-mails and documents. One of the YouTube founders, Chad Hurley, claimed to have lost all his e-mails, and when presented at deposition with copies retrieved from Karim's personal files, was stricken with "serial amnesia," an allegation apparently supported by the attachment of 140 pages of his deposition transcript to an affidavit.

Finally, at the Legal Satyricon, Marc John Randazza, after parsing the papers, describes the parties as follows:

Viacom looks like a scorned lover smashing up Youtube’s car up after their failed Youtube buyout and Youtube looks like an prick purposely trying to induce copyright infringement in brazen Napster/Grokster fashion.

The Carrie Underwood link is Randazza's. I swear. 

Here are links to both Viacom's brief (67 pages, PDF) and YouTube's brief (not to be outdone, 100 pages even!, PDF), for those of you who like to go right to the source. Now that this fight is taking place out in the open, we can all look forward to watching the fireworks.

Posted by Eric Lipman on March 19, 2010 at 10:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)


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