Google must provide Viacom with every record of every video watched by YouTube users, including user names and IP addresses, a US judge declared yesterday. Viacom is suing Google for allowing clips of its copyright videos to show up on YouTube, and says it wants the data in order to prove that “infringing material is more popular than user-created videos”. It hopes to suck more money out of the internet giant if it succeeds in its prosecution of YouTube.
It’s all fallout from Viacom’s March 2007 case. The content provider wants a billion dollars in damages in settlement for Google/YouTube allowing users to upload clips of Viacom’s copyright material. Google argues that its willingness to comply with copyright takedown requests is its defence under law.
While Google tried to argue that handing over the data Viacom is demanding would infringe on user privacy, the judge didn’t agree. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, however, does, and has condemned the judge’s decision.
“The Court’s erroneous ruling is a set-back to privacy rights, and will allow Viacom to see what you are watching on YouTube. We urge Viacom to back off this overbroad request and Google to take all steps necessary to challenge this order and protect the rights of its users,” said EFF.