Viacom Vs. YouTube | $1 Billion Lawsuit Takes Another Twist – Judge Orders User Histories

1 min read

YouTube LogoThe Viacom lawsuit against YouTube has been going on for too long already, and the arguments from both sides of the copyrighted material divide are becoming laboured very quickly.

But up until now, the case was between two huge, and highly profitable companies, and wasn’t actually impinging on us, the normal consumers and viewers of video on the Web. That is now set to change after a judge made a ridiculous decision in Viacom’s favour.

Users IP Addresses & More

Viacom asked the judge presiding over the ongoing case to force YouTube to reveal data about users names and IP addresses, as well as complete histories of which videos they have watched AND copies of every video ever removed from the site for any reason.

The judge, in his infinite wisdom, granted the order, and YouTube now has to comply. Which means information about you and I, and our viewing habits, is going to be released to a company seeking to sue over copyright infringements. Which means we could be sued too for viewing anything other than clips of pets on treadmills and the like.

Proving The Case

According to Wired, Viacom wants the data to help it prove that copyrighted material is more popular than user-generated content. Well sure it is, but YouTube isn’t actively encouraging the uploading of infringing material.

The lawsuit has now been running since March 2007, with Viacom seeking up to $1 billion in damages for YouTube allowing copyrighted material to be uploaded. YouTube has responded by claiming that the law protects it as long as any copyright-infringing clips are removed when a take down request is lodged.

Google Made A Boo Boo

Google has stated that this latest order to turn over data on its users would invade their privacy, but may have been hoisted by their own petard. Google’s defended its data retention policies a while back by claiming that IP addresses aren’t revealing in their own right without other material. The judge has now used this against the company.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has already angrily responded to this decision, calling the order a violation of the Video Privacy Protection act, while Mike Arrington at TechCrunch took a more direct approach by calling the judge “a moron”.


The database containing this requested information is said to take up 12 terabytes, so I don’t envy the people responsible for sifting through it all to prove a point. It could be worth the effort for Viacom though, as this could potentially bust Google‘s defence.

I don’t think I have ever watched a Viacom-owned video on YouTube, but the fact that I even had to spend a few moments pondering the possibility should worry each and every right-thinking individual who has ever frequented YouTube.


6 Replies to “Viacom Vs. YouTube | $1 Billion Lawsuit Takes Another…”

  1. The top brass at google must have shit for brains if they didn’t
    realise that youtube was infringing copyright laws but that is
    why google paid a hansome price for youtube is because
    they thought they could get away with it and of course google
    could of filtered the copyright material on youtube but what
    does’t surprize me is that google are not prepared to take the
    rap but are more than willing to drop all there users into a
    meat grinder as there is the technology for google to save
    youtube and it is in the form of Blinkx a company that can
    tag copyrighted material for before it is seen so the obvious
    solution for google would be to either use technology
    or just buy the company.

  2. If the Public do not take control of old TV shows, commercials etc they get lost.
    Countless programs from the 50s, 60s and 70s have been lost over time, destroyed by TV stations, or simly lost in accidents like the recent fires at Universal Studios.
    The studios greedily hang on to this rare material and eventually lose it. Thank god, out of the millions of people on earth some people are mindful enough to save and store this material and share it with us.
    I put to you that if any free to air programs have incorporated advertising, then it becomes public domain. The advertisers have paid for it.

    If I have seen a TV show it has gone into my brain. I own it. I had to be brainwashed by the commercials to see it, I earned it.

    Music Publishers and Major Studios are on the brink of their downfall. The thinking public is now capable of much more engaging material. If they think they can send us ALL to jail there will be no one left to buy their outdated and mindless garbage.

    WE DID NOT SIGN ANY CONTRACTS WITH THEM. They forced this stuff on us, and ripped off the players and creators in the process. They made up their own ridiculous copyright rules with the power of the almighty dollar.
    The law is there to protect the people, NOT THE MONEY.

  3. I don’t understand how a free and democratic system can suffer protecting large corporations against technological progress by attacking its consumers.

    The rights of the people should always preceed the rights of a company.

  4. i swear these people are just plain stupid.i mean why would anyone make it their business to see youtube destroyed and failed.its wrong,i mean who cares about copyrights as long as their not airing the show by themselves or something.its not really stealing.its posting things for enjoyment of the people.also,viacom should thank youtube because they are advertising their shows and junk.and i think its a pile of bs if they think they can send millions of people to jail for watching a video.

  5. this is a violation of “The Privacy act of 1974”.The Privacy Act prohibits the disclosure of information from a system of records without the written consent of the subject individual, Viacom can not use this unless the have provided with advanced, adequate written assurance that the record will be used solely as a statistical research or reporting record, and the record is to be transferred in a form that is not individually identifiable. Every Ip address is a registered personal property of the individual. Without written permission or agreement this can not be substantiated evidence for them to use against anyone, including youtube

  6. Just another infringement on our ammendment rights to eventually institute martial law. This isnt about copyright infringement though they want you to think it is. It’s another small step in a big plan. But God will eventually trump those plans and probably sooner than many people think. The signs are there and prophecies are being fulfilled. If you Believe God and His Word, just read the books of Revelation and Daniel. And While your at it, research Prince Charles of Wales and his Coat of Arms. Also check out what’s happening with the magnetosphere and how that has severely impacted the irradic weather and natural disasters. Do it quick before viacom steals your liberties. LOL

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