Google wins Viacom case, faces voice suit

Robert Clark & Michael Carroll
24 Jun 2010

Google has won an important legal victory, with a US court rejecting a $1 billion copyright suit from Viacom, but faces a fresh one over its Google Voice technology.

US TV giant Viacom had filed suit in a New York court three years ago over the posting of its material on Google-owned YouTube.

But the judge said Google was shielded from copyright claims by “safe harbor” provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), New York Times reported.

The DMCA grants protection to websites from legal action by copyright owners as long as those sites take down the material when requested to by the content owners.

Viacom, the owner of popular channels such as Comedy Central and MTV, claimed that Google was not entitled to the DMCA protections because it had turned a blind eye to the use of copyrighted material.

It said tens of thousands of Viacom videos had been uploaded to YouTube without authorization, enabling the original owners of YouTube to build a business which they to Google for $1.65 billion. Viacom said it would appeal against the ruling.

Separately, Frontier Communications has demanded Google’s Voice service be shut down, in a lawsuit filed the same day the search giant opened the service up to a wider audience.

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