UPDATED, 11:14 PM: YouTube today dismissed the support that IATSE, the DGA, AFM and SAG-AFTRA has shown for Viacom’s efforts to get another day in court with its $1 billion copyright infringement suit. Not only does the Google-owned company say in a statement that the unions’ brief “recycles” a previous filing from 2010 in the suit but that they “don’t seem to have followed developments in the case.” Read the statement YouTube issued via a spokesperson late Monday below:
The brief filed by entertainment industry unions recycles their brief from the first appeal in 2010. They don’t seem to have followed developments in the case or recognized the changes to YouTube’s place in the entertainment ecosystem. The Court has twice rejected Viacom’s unfounded copyright infringement claims. And even Viacom has conceded it doesn’t object to how YouTube has operated for the last five years. YouTube has signed licensing agreements with every major movie studio and record label, has developed an industry-leading Content Identification system used by 4,000 media partners, and does more to prevent piracy than any other major video hosting provider.
PREVIOUSLY, 6:33 PM: Despite another recent court loss, Viacom’s latest attempt to revive its billion-dollar copyright suit against YouTube has just gotten some very vocal support again from some old friends. “YouTube’s role in the rampant, systematic distribution of content in violation of the exclusive rights of copyright holders caused and continues to cause harm to the entertainment industries and the members of the Guilds and Unions working in those industries,” said a joint brief filed late last week by lawyers for the Directors Guild of America, SAG-AFTRA, IATSE and the American Federation of Musicians. “We urge the Court to consider the full ramifications of YouTube’s actions, and request that the Court reverse the lower court’s decision.” The unions offered similar such support as they did last week back in 2010. Filed on August 2 this year, the quartet’s new 28-page brief (read it here) comes after Viacom filed materials on July 30 with the 2nd Court of Appeals asking for a new judge in the long-running case. That expected legal move against Judge Louis Stanton followed the NY-based U.S. District Court judge granting YouTube yet another favorable summary judgment in the matter on April 18. That was the second such decision for the Google-owned entity in the case. Viacom first launched the $1B action in 2007. The latest filing may see the whole case starting up again, at least if Viacom gets its way and gets a new judge. Stanton ruled in the spring that YouTube was protected by the safe-harbor provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. His decision meant tossing “all of plaintiffs’ copyright infringement claims and accordingly dismissing the complaint, the costs and disbursements to defendants according to law.” That ruling wasn’t too different from what the same judge had determined back in June 2010. The main difference between the 2010 ruling and the 2013 one is that Stanton had his original decision vacated by the 2nd Circuit in April 2012 after the higher court decided that YouTube had in fact known it was infringing Viacom’s copyrights with clips of The Daily Show, South Park and other material that were posted on the video-sharing site. As well as the unions, the Copyright Alliance, the Minority Media & Telecommunications Council and Media Institute also filed a brief on Viacom’s behalf on August 2. Joseph J. Vitale of NYC firm Cohen Weiss and Simon LLP filed the brief on behalf of the unions.
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