Viacom Wins Appeal Against Google’s YouTube, Overturning 2-Year-Old Summary Judgment

1 min read

Court GavelJust when you thought it was safe to go back in the water assume Viacom’s lawsuit against YouTube for copyright infringement was dead and buried, an appeals court brings it back to life once again. When will this madness end?!


The background to this long and winding case in a nutshell: YouTube was born, thousands of clips were uploaded to the site, many of them infringing on copyrights. Google acquired YouTube, Viacom pulled its content, and then sued the search giant for $1 billion on 63,000 alleged copyright infringements. Let the fun and games begin.

Summary Judgment

That was all back in 2007, with both sides spending the ensuing few years building their cases until in 2010 Google succeeded in its motion for summary judgment. Google had effectively won the case, YouTube would live on, and Viacom would obviously appeal. It did just that, and the appeals court has now published its verdict.


The U.S. Court of Appeals has rejected the earlier summary judgment, overturning the decision of the lower court. Now the case will continue onto trial, although what is actually being fought over has changed considerably.

As Google said in its response to the decision, “All that is left of the Viacom lawsuit that began as a wholesale attack on YouTube is a dispute over a tiny percentage of videos long ago removed from YouTube. Nothing in this decision impacts the way YouTube is operating.”

Meanwhile, Viacom has responded by saying, “We are pleased with the decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals. The Court delivered a definitive, common sense message – intentionally ignoring theft is not protected by the law.”


I’m sure I’m not the only person bored by this case. The fact is the world has moved on since 2005, which is when the alleged infringements are supposed to have taken place.

YouTube now does everything by the DMCA book, and that should be enough. Unfortunately this will drag on and on, with the lawyers being the only real winners at the end of the day.

[Via Bloomberg]