Why the YouTube-Viacom ruling is good news

From The Atlantic Wire.

For three years, media and legal observers have been anticipating the outcome of Viacom's $1 billion lawsuit against Google's video site, YouTube. Viacom, which owns MTV, Paramount Pictures and programs such as South Park and The Daily Show, alleged that YouTube willingly exploited its copyrighted content. Google, on the other hand, maintained that the Digital Millennium Copyright Act relieves it from checking user-generated material before it's posted.

On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Louis Stanton ruled in favor of Google, saying that when YouTube received "specific notice that a particular item infringed a copyright, they swiftly removed it." While Viacom promises to appeal the ruling, its prospects don't look promising. Web enthusiasts and legal experts, meanwhile, are musing about what this means for the Web at large.

At the moment, these views are:

  • The judgment “reinforces the pro-sharing ethos of the Web”
  • It “ensures YouTube’s long-term survival” by easing Google’s caution about where it places ads on the service
  • It “loosens the rules on content-hosting sites”. (Er, except in Italy, perhaps)
  • It represents a major setback for media companies
  • All true. The big story is that while Viacom may be big, Google is bigger. There’s a new 800-lb gorilla on the block.