Google Responds to Viacom Lawsuit, Denies Claims, Requests Trial

Google filed today its response to Viacom's $1 billion lawsuit, which alleges unauthorized use of Viacom's copyrighted video, Google Watch has learned.

Google's response is available for download here.

Viacom's complaint, filed in New York federal court March 13, accuses Google and YouTube of "massive intentional copyright infringement" and seeks an injunction against further violations.

"Viacom's complaint in this action challenges the careful balance established by Congress when it enacted the Digital Millenium Copyright Act," Google's response begins. "The DMCA balances the rights of copyright holders and the need to protect the Internet as an important new form of communication. By seeking to make carriers and hosting providers liable for Internet communications, Viacom's complaint threatens the way hundreds of millions of people legitimately exchange information, news, entertainment and political and artistic expression. Google and YouTube respect the importance of intellectual property rights, and not only comply with their safe harbor obligations under the DMCA, but go well above and beyond what the law requires."

Google's response denies all allegations made by Viacom in the original complaint. Google requests a jury trial.

Specifically, in response to Viacom's allegation that Google and YouTube promote direct copyright infringement via public performance, Google cites the safe harbor provisions of the DMCA. In response to Viacom's allegation that Google is making unauthorized copies of protected works, Google cites fair use. Google also cites the substantial non-infringing uses of YouTube.

Viacom, which sent a takedown notice to YouTube in February for 100,000 videos, contends that almost 160,000 unauthorized clips of its programming have been uploaded onto YouTube's site and viewed more than 1.5 billion times.

"YouTube's strategy has been to avoid taking proactive steps to curtail the infringement on its site," Viacom said after filing the lawsuit. "Their business model, which is based on building traffic and selling advertising off of unlicensed content, is clearly illegal and is in obvious conflict with copyright laws."

Viacom's suit was filed after "a great deal of unproductive negotiation" with Google.