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Consumers pondering Google/Viacom ruling

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Fri, Jun 25, 2010 at 7:39 pm

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Consumers pondering Google/Viacom ruling

A federal court decision this week throwing out Viacom’s’ $1 billion copyright infringement lawsuit against YouTube, has consumers and copyright holders wondering about its implications. (Viacom says it will appeal.)

Hollywood is bummed. The Director’s Guild says the decision requires content producers—especially indie filmmakers—“to search the Internet constantly and forever – a never-ending task of Sisyphean proportions” to prevent piracy of their work, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

The recording industry feels the same way, says Reuters.

“At a time where there is more talk about service providers becoming proactive in the course of their normal routines, this opinion comes along and says you can be willfully blind,” says Cary Sherman, president of the Recording Industry Assn. of America, who agrees that the decision potentially opens the door to ISPs dropping their filtering technology.

Ronald Cass, law professor and Forbes columnist, calls the decision a legal and economic mistake.

“..the court’s interpretation of the DMCA would undermine rights that give countless authors and creators incentives to invest time, energy and genius in their work. That should raise red flags for anyone concerned about our economy, our society and our rule of law.”

Slate’s Farhad Manjo calls the decision “stunning,” while social media mavens Breaking Media says it was anything but. Content companies need to learn the world has changed, says BM.

“..the ruling is a sort of a symbolic moment that, if Viacom and other big content companies interpret it correctly, could lead them out of a Luddite frame of mind that has no room for a realistic understanding of how content is consumed and distributed today.”

Washington Post’s Rob Pegoraro says the decision “should be good news” for the average Internet user.

(Check out the Viacom v. YouTube docket and documents here.)

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This post was written by:

Margot Williams

- who has written 49 posts on Inside Google.

Margot Williams has more than two decades of experience in roles as investigative researcher, research editor, database editor, technology trainer and library director at The New York Times, The Washington Post, Gannett newspapers and Time Warner. She was lead researcher on two Pulitzer Prize-winning teams at The Washington Post for reporting on terrorism in 2002 and for an investigation of the use of deadly force by the District of Columbia police in 1999. Margot is the co-author of “Great Scouts! CyberGuides for Subject Searching on the Web” (Cyberage Books, 1999) and contributed to the “Networkings” column in The Washington Post for five years.

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