Google Lawyer: Copyright Protection For YouTube Video Almost Ready
"We believe it goes beyond any legal disputes," said Beck of the technology, during a preliminary hearing before U.S. District Judge Louis L. Stanton in Manhattan.
Viacom attorney Donald Verrilli, who characterized the lawsuit as "plain old-fashioned infringement," applauded the initiative but said it wouldn't be appeased by this promised cure-all. "We'd have been a lot happier if they'd put this in place when they launched," he said.
Verrilli said of Google's YouTube, "they have built a business on this infringement." It was YouTube's responsibility to track copyrighted material on its site from the beginning because they profit from the exchange.
Viacom acknowledged that it did not grasp--and had no feasible way of finding out--just how many of its copyrighted clips are stored within YouTube member's "private" areas, which are not accessible to the general public.
During Friday's scheduling conference, Beck stuck to Google's key argument that the Digital Millennium Copyright Act's "fair harbor" provisions protect it from copyright infringement.
Viacom is attempting to frame the case as a simple issue of infringement, Beck said, adding: "We think it's a little more complicated."
Along with Phil Beck of Bartlit Beck, Google also has on its team David Kramer of Wilson Sonsini. Beck is considered one of the nation's top trial lawyers, having represented now-President Bush in Florida during the 2000 election and pharmaceutical giant Merck during its Vioxx litigation.
In March, Viacom sued Google--which acquired YouTube last year--for copyright infringement "on a massive scale." The company had then asked YouTube to take down 100,000 of its clips.
Suits by music publisher Bourne and the Premier League, England's top soccer league, have been combined with the Viacom suit for trial purposes before Judge Stanton.
Case watchers can expect, according to Viacom's Verrilli: technical expert testimony; expert testimony with regard to business models; the availability of copyrighted work and copyrighted content filtering systems; and an exploration of the true scope of the alleged copyright infringement.
The parties are next due in court on Aug. 6.