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MPAA,IFTA File Amicus Brief In Viacom v. YouTube

A coalition of major and independent program producers and distributors have filed a friend of the court brief in Viacom's battle with YouTube over alleged "massive" copyright infringement.

Their friend in this case being Viacom and the case being the appeals court's consideration of a lower court's summary judgment last June that YouTube and parent, Google were shielded from liability by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

The brief was filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit on behalf of the Motion Picture Association of America (which counts Viacom as a member) and the Independent Film & Television Alliance.

They told the court that the lower court's summary judgment against Viacom creates a safe harbor for service providers who are culpable of infringing, "incentiviz[ing] service providers to willfully blind themselves
to apparent 'red flags' of mass infringing activity."

That is because the lower court held that in order for YouTube to be liable for inaction, it would have to know about "specific and identifiable infringements of individual items," even if it had the general understanding that infringing content was helping boost its traffic or even welcomed it during the site's growth phase, which the court said a case could be made for.

Viacom filed suit against YouTube and Google in 2007, alleging they engaged in deliberate copyright infringement designed to boost traffic to YouTube and was seeking more than $1 billion in damages. Viacom filed its initial briefs in the Second Circuit appeal last week.  

Todd Spangler contributed to this report.