Viacom Slaps Google With $1 billion Lawsuit

Justin just sent me this CNN link with a Reuters story about Viacom slapping Google with a $1 billion lawsuit. That’s a lot of zeros!

NEW YORK (Reuters) — Media conglomerate Viacom Inc. said Tuesday it filed a $1 billion lawsuit against Google Inc.and its Internet video sharing site YouTube over unauthorized use of its copyrighted entertainment.

The suit accuses Web search leader Google and YouTube of “massive intentional copyright infringement” of Viacom’s entertainment assets and seeks an injunction against further violations.

Read the full story at CNN. I wonder how Google will respond?

104 thoughts on “Viacom Slaps Google With $1 billion Lawsuit”

  1. Wow.. Seems like Google is getting itself into a huge pile of potential debt. With so many clips, it is impossible for Google to deny the their existence. I wonder if Google will attempt to sue the uploaders in a move as well?

    1. Jez says:

      Naa that would be counter productive and they would never be able to prove a given person uploaded, IMO

      1. I’m sure Google will remove all of the video’s or, somehow require the rights: $$$$

        1. Gary Lee says:

          i wonder if they regret buying youtube

          1. Marc says:

            No, they don’t nor will they. This is no surprise to them. It will boil down to an out of court settlement that will benefit both. This and other lawsuits like it were seen a mile away and preparations were made.

            Much like the iPhone name controversy. Full of sound and fury signifying nothing.

          2. HMTKSteve says:

            There’s a great idea. Sue the people who are giving you free publicity for your shows!!!

    2. Wow. Sue the uploaders? I hadn’t thought of it. Seems like it would be a huge cost (lawyers and courts) to get small returns (ie. my piddly bank accounts). I’d be surprised to see that happening.

    3. Mark Shead says:

      Maybe, but probably not. I imagine they know this will take years to sort out and during that time they will be making money.

  2. Erik says:

    Interesting. Google really had it coming by buying out Youtube.

    1. Jez says:

      I think it was a good purchase, it has huge potential, they are only scratching the surface at the moment.

      1. Very true, as bandwidth increases, so will the number of videos on the net!

    2. Yeah, but everyone saw the danger coming so they must have as well. I’m sure they knew what they were doing and have been expecting this.

    3. Mark Shead says:

      Oh I think they know exactly what they are doing. It wasn’t like this was a surprise.

  3. Massive YouTube censorship and restriction of copyrighted content coming soon to a browser near you!

    1. Jez says:

      Yeah looks that way, then again, Microsoft never split after the Netscape debacle did it?

    2. Is this the demise of the Tube?! โ“

      1. Jez says:

        7 words and shrinking ๐Ÿ˜†

        If were comment whores, Lyndon must be the pimp โ—

        1. ๐Ÿ˜† Is that the minimum then: 7 words per post?

      2. Marc says:

        Demise of YouTube? ๐Ÿ˜†

        You’re joking right?

      3. No way. Not after G just dropped 1.6B on that purchase. YouTube isn’t going anywhere. I’d guess it’d become more and more commercialized instead.

      4. Mark Shead says:

        No it is just the start. Just imagine if Google wins, what YouTube will become. More likely they will settle or the laws will be changed or something.

  4. Scot says:

    We knew the lawsuits would start rolling in eventually ๐Ÿ˜‰

    But who is to blame here? The users of the site who have uploaded the videos or Google for hosting the videos on their servers?

    1. That’s the same question that Napster fought and lost!

      1. Gary Lee says:

        It’s the network’s fault for not realizing that they need to start embedding advertisements into the shows so that when people distribute them, the advertisers can still be happy with their ad purchase!

        1. That was one of the founding principles of YouTube: no adds. If content providers embedded ads, users would find a way to post videos with them!

          We am 5mart!!1!

          1. Mark Shead says:

            The ads need to be part of the shows. Like product placements.

      2. David says:

        ahhh…fond memories of Napster ๐Ÿ˜ˆ

  5. Roger Wong says:

    “I wonder if Google will attempt to sue the uploaders in a move as well?”

    Google wouldn’t sue the uploaders, they’re the bread and butter of the YouTube model. I don’t think much is going to happen, they can remove the videos per requested under the Safe Harbor provisions of the DMCA and are not held liable for the actions of their users. On the other hand, Viacom could request YouTube to identify (e-mail, IP, etc.) who the uploaders are and then sue them (like the RIAA does). In any case, Viacom should be looking for a rev-share deal with YouTube instead of trying to force users to consume their media elsewhere.

  6. YouTube will not sue their users, which would be stupid. YouTube will say they really try hard to remove copyrighted content, and most content will be removed within x amount of time, and if you contact youtube, they will remove it in 10mins or less… etc. That’s all they can do, for the most part….

    1. Jez says:

      I bet they dont know how to track most of them down, what do they have, a mail address, not sure thats enough to make anything stick, its up to them to police the site and ban users…

      1. They don’t have that info, but your ISP does. YouTube has your MAC address, IP address and the date you uploaded the video.

        1. Mark Shead says:

          Um. How would YouTube have your MAC address?

  7. This is why Mark Cuban has been really against YouTube (or Gootube as he calls it) because of all the copyright infringement that built it into what it is today.

    I’m interested to see how this plays out, because I can see both sides of it.

    1. Jez says:

      That is a lot of zero’s, I wonder how they came up with that figure??

      There is a lot of copyright material on there. Its a bit unfair though, youTube could actually increase sales of the genuine article, if people like the clip. Still Google is a cash cow and they should have seen this coming.

      1. I’m sure it’s that large mostly to get attention. :mrgreen:

        1. I doubt it was for the attention… ๐Ÿ˜

          1. Gary Lee says:

            seriously . . a settlement’s coming behind closed doors. We’re not going to be talking about this in a couple of days!

          2. David says:

            So true…We won’t be hearing anything of it soon…

      2. Mark Shead says:

        Good point. Do they think they would have made an additional 1billion dollars if You Tube didn’t exist?

    2. Mark Cuban is a smart guy on some things, but man has he made some bad decisions along the way. I’m thinking of a bad, bad reality show Mr. Cuban had once…

  8. Joseph.C says:

    ๐Ÿ˜ฎ With all the smart folks at google…I would think they would see this coming.

    1. Aris says:

      Does that mean, they really like to play with fire?

    2. Actually they did see this coming and had part of the money paid to the original YouTube owners set aside for fighting these type of lawsuits.

      1. Yeah, I would imagine that this was a thought!

    3. Mark Shead says:

      Oh I’m sure they did see this coming. It wasn’t a surprise.

  9. Ed Lau says:

    I honestly don’t see the big deal. There are only short clips of TV shows, trailers, sports highlights and music videos on YouTube. Personally, I think this will blow up in Viacom’s face just like how shutting down file sharing is impossible for the RIAA.

    However, the good move for Google would probably be to settle at a much smaller amount. Other broadcasting and media companies are starting to see the potential and popularity of YouTube…it’s only a matter of time really.

    1. Aris says:

      This is interesting. I really can’t wait to see the outcome, since this could be another ploy for advertisement for viacomm. But I could be wrong.

      1. Jonix says:

        google is a giant, is a “standard” in this days. I doubt this will become the news of the year. Google will for sure do a deal with this guys (and others) and everything will be allright in the end of the battle.
        If we think a little, this kind of news and battles, brind more attention to youtube, more and more traffic, more AD sales, more revenues…google is allways winning.

    2. It would be a big deal to you, if it was your content! There are entire episodes on the Tube!

    3. I agree. It’s low quality, short portions of bigger things. If anything they spark people’s interest and make them want to check it out more.

  10. I am sure that Google wont have a problem with this one, but it’s fun to see how the Google stock trembles. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    1. Aris says:

      What happens now? Does that mean it has already started to tremble? ๐Ÿ˜†

      1. Jonix says:

        Don’t count with that.

    2. I haven’t heard any news of the stocks weakening. I guess it will only suffer a blow IF Viacom succeeds in their case.

    3. Google’s stock has such a long way to go before it starts to hurt.

  11. derrich says:

    Viacom needs something right now. Might as well sue the most popular video site on the planet. ๐Ÿ™„

    1. You think this is a way to make up for the whole Boston “Terror” plot?

    2. Well, that’s the only way to grab some real attention for them now.. ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. Aris says:

    I thought a post on my blog that linked to this post will automatically show up here. It turned out there is some delay. ๐Ÿ˜† Could that because John needs to approve it first? ๐Ÿ˜•

    1. Jonix says:

      or the askimet plugin has stoped your trackback has spam, unfortunally sometimes that happen. And then only john can de-spam the trackback.

      1. Aris says:

        Oh, okay. That means for a busy site like this, it would take time before being shown here. At least, if I were Joh, I would have a hard time to follow, ehm, all this “dedicated comments,” particularly from you or me. ๐Ÿ˜†

  13. Colin Dean says:

    I urge y’all to read Larry Lessig’s blog post about this. He provides some commentary on why Viacom is going after Google/YouTube instead of just lobbying Congress like they’ve done in the past.

  14. Kenny says:

    Google has plenty of $ and they will eventually work out some sort of deal where both parties are happy.

  15. Tyler says:

    This is a huge bonehead move on Viacom’s part. They are suing the very company that gives them all the free advertising for their product that they could ask for and then some.
    It was posted upthread, and I agree, that the best thing for companies to do is to leverage Youtube for the networking phenom that it is…don’t try to buck the trend, use it to your advantage.
    Maybe I should work in the marketing dept. at Viacom?

    1. Joshua says:

      I agree it’s the best thing to do (leveraging the Youtube network) BUT you only have to look over to the music industry to see that they will sue, sue and sue until they have no choice but to join their supposed enemy.

      Some of the smartest business minds teach us to embrace change or get left behind, yet you’ve got some major entities trying to live in the old days (like whenever music labels had their peak? whenever the only place to watch a movie was down the road at this ‘cinema’?) and fight the natural progression they cannot stop.

      Evil men like John Chow, smart Australians like Mitchell Harper and YOU who read this blog to learn and be like them, are perfect examples of changing to embrace the situation.

    2. The problem is that there are entire episodes on The Tube!

    3. It is a matter that will happen sooner or later, just that Viacom has taken a lead on a pretty big lawsuit. Who knows? Others are just waiting and banking on the outcome.

      1. They need to take the same approach as NBC, CBS and the others: Upload the content yourself so you can guarantee quality and whatever else you want.

    4. Yeah, and it makes them look like jerks. Just like back when Metallica pulled this same type of stunt. Pissed a lot of people off just like this is doing.

  16. Kubiac says:

    I think Viacom is just out for a free payday. All they are doing is giving Youtube and Google more press time. Its funny how they feel exploited and they have problem made more money since Youtube has been in existence

    1. Jonix says:

      Tyler and Kubiac, you guys hited the point! that’s it, all of this it’s just “show-off”, and bring attention to viacom, google and youtube (free press advertising).

    2. Mark Shead says:

      I’m not convinced that they expect to win. They are probably looking for a settlement of some type.

  17. Matthew says:

    bankrupt google! ๐Ÿ˜ˆ

    take em down a billion at a time

    1. lol, I still want my search engine! ๐Ÿ˜€

      1. Me too, I live on Google and rely on so many of their services – why to people hate them so much? Because they are successful? Because their products work? Because it’s free?

        1. David says:

          Same here, google is my homepage, my search engine, my maps, almost my everything on the net…except my many frequented blogs…

  18. Is the the beginning of end of web 2.0 bubble?

    1. Mark Shead says:

      I would not count on it.

  19. YES!



    I love shorting google.

    1. Why? What is so wrong with Google? โ“

      1. Google scares me. People used to go on and on about Microsoft ruling the digital world. But these days I think Google is the one that’s going to be in charge of things real soon.

  20. skintube says:

    Google’s response should be simple enough. I see your billion dollars and raise you and “anything” Viacom related being completely delisted from Google.

    That would shut Viacom up fast if they had any brains about them. If you don’t exist on Google, you don’t exist. Shutter their asses back to the stone age and see how they like it. Google has a huge hammer it can wield if it so chooses.

    1. I agree. Blacklisting them from Google searches. I have heard that this dealt a major impact for several companies online.

      1. Sorry guys, but that would never happen. Just imagine the bad press Google would get if they did that!

    2. Mark Shead says:

      That is actually a pretty funny idea, but it would hurt Google in the long run.

  21. Dinner says:

    WHAT?!? That’s crap. Go after the people that are putting it up there.

    1. Mark Shead says:

      That may be the outcome of this lawsuit more than anything else.

  22. IndoDX says:

    When there are company that have success, their must ready from outside the world problem ๐Ÿ˜‰

  23. Aaron Cook says:

    Interesting suit, and I’m not surprised. But Google wonโ€™t sue the uploaders; theyโ€™re obviously the meat and potatoes of the YouTube environment.

    All in all, I’m not certain this lawsuit will amount to too much in and of itself. Most likely, Google will remove the videos in accordance with the DMCA Safe Harbor Provisions and won’t be held legally liable.

    However, Viacom could actually request that YouTube identify the email addresses and IP addresses of those who illegally uploaded the Viacom material, and sue them – like the Recording Industry Association of America does.

    However, I, myself, see there to be much better and more profitable ways in which to go about this. Let’s see if they can find those ways on their own.

    Shine on,

  24. Bob says:

    “Viacom” is still showing up as the first search listing on Google, be interesting to see if they lower it down to the Supplemental Result area.

    1. Mark Shead says:

      If they knock it out of the rankings just because of the lawsuit it would be very bad for Google because of other lawsuits.

  25. carl says:

    It looks like google has a challenge!! ๐Ÿ˜ˆ

  26. TheAnand says:

    hey john, maybe the shares of google will go down and sally will b able to buy a few of them!

  27. This is probably one of those “it was only a matter of time” things. Be interesting to see how the result pans out.

    1. Mark Shead says:

      I’m guessing it was expected.

  28. What a crock. How can they justify 1B in losses??

    1. Mark Shead says:

      I think this is more about public opinion and policy.

  29. You had to see this coming – Google must get about 100 lawsuits a day.

  30. Zach says:

    woop dee doo, this is pocket change for google

  31. Zach says:

    is this because of youtube? โ—

  32. Zach says:

    this does sound a lot like the same thing napster went through

    1. Mark Shead says:

      But Google has much deeper pockets.

Comments are closed.