Google Inc.’s YouTube video-sharing website for a second time persuaded a judge to throw out a Viacom Inc. lawsuit claiming YouTube violated copyrights by letting users post clips from shows without authorization.
U.S. District Judge Louis Stanton in Manhattan yesterday granted YouTube’s request for a judgment without a trial. He said YouTube was protected from liability by the safe harbor provision of the Copyright Act because it removed infringing videos when notified.
“There is no evidence that YouTube induced its users to submit infringing videos,” Stanton said in his ruling.
Stanton ruled in 2010 in Google’s favor. In April 2012, the U.S. Court of Appeals in New York overturned that ruling and sent the case back to the district court. Viacom said in a statement that it plans to appeal yesterday’s decision.
Viacom argued that YouTube used unauthorized copyrighted material from shows such as “The Colbert Report” and “South Park” to draw visitors and make the website more attractive to potential buyers. The site benefited financially from infringement through revenue from advertisements placed next to the videos, Viacom said.
“This ruling ignores the opinions of the higher courts and completely disregards the rights of creative artists,” Jeremy Zweig, a Viacom spokesman, said in an e-mailed statement. “We continue to believe that a jury should weigh the facts of this case and the overwhelming evidence that YouTube willfully infringed on our rights.”
Google, operator of the world’s biggest Internet search engine, bought YouTube in 2006 for $1.65 billion. Google said in a filing that Viacom had also been interested in buying the site.
The case is Viacom v. YouTube, 07-2103, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan). The appeal case is Viacom International v. YouTube, 10-03270, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (Manhattan).