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News In Brief

Federal court decides in YouTube’s favor in landmark copyright case

Melissa Kaplan Jun 24, 2010

A federal judge sided with Google Inc. in a case against media giant Viacom, which was attempting to collect $1 billion in damages over content at Google-owned YouTube. The ruling validated Google’s interpretation of a 12-year-old Internet law that says the video site is protected from copyright infringement provided it removes illegal content immediately once notified of a violation.

The decision further vindicates Google for its decision to buy YouTube back in 2006 for $1.76 billion, despite the video content site’s status as a “rogue enabler” of content theft by Google’s own executives. The ruling is considered a huge win in the digital community ; the case helps shed light on the limits of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, the law governing copyright infringement online, and the limits of the “safe harbor” provision which protects YouTube from certain liability in its content distribution.

Pakistan, meanwhile, is generally less enthused about Google and YouTube. The Pakistani court has ordered authorities to block access to those sites and several others over what it deems is the support of material which is blasphemous against Islam. The order closely follows the country’s controversial decision to shut down Facebook last month and block several thousand links over a competition to draw the Prophet Muhammed.

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