Google returned the legal volley to Viacom today, filing an official response with U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York to Viacom’s March 13 lawsuit which alleges massive intentional copyright infringement of Viacom's entertainment properties.
Viacom seeks more than $1 billion in damages, as well as an injunction prohibiting Google and YouTube from further copyright infringement. In its “Defendant’s Answer and Demand for Jury Trial Today,” Google denied Viacom’s specific allegations, more than 50 individual times.
On July 27, Google and Viacom counsel are scheduled to meet with Judge Louis Stanton to plan the case schedule.
Viacom’s original “indictment” of YouTube:
YouTube is a significant, for-profit organization that has built a lucrative business out of exploiting the devotion of fans to others' creative works in order to enrich itself and its corporate parent Google. 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. In fact, YouTube's strategy has been to avoid taking proactive steps to curtail the infringement on its site, thus generating significant traffic and revenues for itself while shifting the entire burden - and high cost - of monitoring YouTube onto the victims of its infringement.
Google’s counter “indictment” of Viacom:
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 puts forth a dozen “Defenses”:
1) DMCA Safe Harbor
3) Fair Use
4) Failure to Mitigate
5) Failure to State a Claim
6) Innocent Intent
7) Copyright Misuse
10) Unclean Hands
12) Substantial Non-Infringing Use
Viacom has “Unclean Hands”?
Google asserts Viacom’s claims are in some way morally tainted even if they may be legally sound; A “court of conscience” ordinarily does not grant relief to a party deemed to have engaged in unconscionable conduct itself, i.e., to one with "unclean hands" in the matter.
Google has “Innocent Intent”?
It didn’t sound that way during the company’s Q1 2007 earnings call:
Google CEO upholds YouTube copyright infringing business model!