This article was published 16 years ago

Judge order Google to hand over user data to Viacom

In the ongoing lawsuit, YouTube v Viacom, a federal judge has order Google to turn over records of every video that’s appeared on YouTube, including every username and IP address.

Google will have to turn over every record of every video watched by YouTube users, including users’ names and IP addresses, to Viacom, which is suing Google for allowing clips of its copyright videos to appear on YouTube, a judge ruled Wednesday.

Viacom wants the data to prove that infringing material is more popular than user-created videos, which could be used to increase Google’s liability if it is found guilty of contributory infringement.

The last paragraph is important in the WIRED article. Google could argue that the Viacom clips that appeared on YouTube have helped Viacom’s ratings but that argument probably won’t hold up on court. A counter-point for Google could be if they search the data and find out that Viacom employees were uploading the copyrighted material, even if it’s not a Viacom media property.

Viacom also requested YouTube’s source code, the code for identifying repeat copyright infringement uploads, copies of all videos marked private, and Google’s advertising database schema.

Those requests were denied in whole, except that Google will have to turn over data about how often each private video has been watched and by how many persons.

I think it’s safe to say that a settlement is out of the question.

UPDATE: CNet article goes into detail about what Viacom can and can’t do with the data, mainly going after YouTube users like the RIAA does with file sharers.