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July 03, 2008

Court: Google Must Turn Over YouTube Logging Database

Viacom may soon have access to YouTube user IDs, IP addresss and details of every video they've ever watched, thanks to yesterday's district court order. Viacom is suing Google for copyright infringement in more than 150,000 video clips.

The US court declined Viacom's request that Google be forced to hand over the source code of YouTube, saying it was a "trade secret" that should not be disclosed.

But it said privacy concerns expressed by Google about handing over the log were "speculative".

The ruling will see the viewing habits of millions of YouTube users given to Viacom, totalling more than 12 terabytes of data.

Viacom said it wanted the data to "compare the attractiveness of allegedly infringing video with that of non-infringing videos."

So Google's secrets, most especially its advertising formulas are safe. Not so much YouTube users' information.

I still don't see why YouTube isn't protected under the safe harbor provisions of the DMCA. For that matter, what interest does Viacom have in "comparing the attractiveness" of all video clips? If the case turns on direct infringement, Viacom needs to know only about the viewing of allegedly infringing videos. On the other hand, if the case is about vicarious or contributory infringement, YouTube should fall under the DMCA.

Background:
Openblogger Krakatoa wrote about the case in May.
The Moron-in-Chief wrote about it last year when the parties were still trying to avoid litigation.


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posted by Gabriel Malor at 11:53 AM

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