Ever since Viacom announced their $1 billion copyright infringement lawsuit against Google/YouTube, I have been thinking about who is in the right and who is not.
I really do think both sides have a point.
Viacom is right to contest the many instances of infringement of its copyrighted works. But the way I see this, YouTube is a type of a passive facilitator.
What do I mean by passive facilitator? I do not believe that YouTube was created primarily as a way to upload copyrighted content. The "You" in YouTube connotes an original intent to establish a service that would serve to publish and distribute user-generated digital video content.
The fact that so many YouTube users have taken the service's publishing modules as a way to upload copyrighted digital content isn't really YouTube's fault. To me, blaming YouTube and their owner Google for facilitating these infringements is the same as if one were to sue a state highway department for building and maintaining the road on which a bank robber's getaway vehicle travels.
So who then is at fault?
The real enablers of these infringements are the hardware and software makers who have made it a cinch to port digital content from televisions to PCs.
PCs on which this content can be edited, and then uploaded to video sharing sites such as YouTube.
And then the YouTube users/infringers who ignore copyright by uploading this stuff to YouTube, and other video sharing sites.