YouTube: Is Viacom hurting innocent YouTubers?

Google, YouTube, Viacom: Is there a villian?
Written by Donna Bogatin, Contributor on
Corporate media giant Viacom is taking a stand against corporate advertising giant Google to defend itself against alleged copyright infringement at YouTube (see “Is the Google YouTube honeymoon over?”). 

Are innocent YouTubers caught in the high-stakes crossfire?

Jim Moore recounts how he innocently uploaded a “friends and family” video of a “ Sunday nite dinner at Redbones in Somerville, Mass” to YouTube and received a not-so-innocent DMCA complaint letter:

This is to notify you that we have removed or disabled access to the following material as a result of a third-party notification by Viacom International Inc. claiming that this material is infringing.

Moore underscores that he does not blame YouTube for having to comply with what he characterizes as the “onerous and notorious DMCA”:

I support YouTube in sending this on to me and taking down the video. What else are they to do?

Who is the villain then that is responsible for what Moore deems to be “tens of thousands” of “legitimate” YouTube video uploaders being "threatened" by DMCA notices?

YouTube corporate owner Google is apparently deemed innocent by Moore, even though it is Google that is operating its business based on DMCA modus operandi.

Moore on his aggrieved YouTuber status:

Of course, now they (YouTube) have set up a situation where I perhaps have legal standing to go after Viacom.

Moore is hoping to rally a class action cause to “go after Viacom”:

I can’t afford to do this alone, but perhaps now I am part of a “class,” as in “class action law suit?”  Anyone else interested.  This blog, by the way, is hosted at Harvard Law School Berkman Center for Internet & Society, so we should be able to get some local talent to help out.

Moore is Dr. Moore, Dr. James F. Moore, his accomplishments include:

The founder and former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of GeoPartners Research, which he led from 1990 to 1999. GeoPartners invested in and consulted to companies whose strategies required change in large scale systems, including AT&T, AT&T Bell Laboratories, Intel, Intel Capital, Hewlett-Packard, Softbank Group, Qualcomm, Motorola, Johnson & Johnson, Jim Henson Productions, GE Capital, and Royal Dutch Shell.

A Senior Fellow at Harvard Law School in the Berkman Center for Internet & Society for four years.

Moore may feel he is an innocent YouTuber, but he is not an uninterested YouTube bystander. The “local talent” he is enlisting is undoubtedly colleagues advocating on behalf of “Chilling Effects,” an "online clearinghouse for analysis and response to cease-and-desist notices sent to Internet users.”

According to the “Berkman Center for Internet & Society”:

Founded at the Berkman Center by Fellow Wendy Seltzer, Chilling Effects is a joint project of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and law school clinics at Harvard, Stanford, Berkeley, the University of San Francisco, and the University of Maine. Do you know your online rights? Have you received a cease and desist letter asking you to remove information from a Web site or to stop engaging in an activity? Are you concerned about liability for information that someone else posted to your online forum? If so, Chilling Effects is for you. Chilling Effects aims to help you understand the protections that the First Amendment and intellectual property laws give to your online activities.

Chilling Effect collaborator Stanford Center for Internet and Society receives funding from YouTube corporate parent Google, as I report and analyze in “Google’s $2 million Stanford ‘fair use’ underwriting”:

Google has funded, to the tune of $2 million, Stanford University's Center for Internet and Society to "change the way content owners approach fair use issues."

I put forth Google's strategy to subsidize academic institutions in championing legal doctrine favorable to Google's business model: 

Google forges ahead in its mission to codify its "right" to perpetuate a $150 billion market cap business model based on selling ads against content it has not compensated IP owners for and that it has no explicit legal right to exploit commercially.

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