A lawsuit filed against Google by Viacom, the New York entertainment giant, threatens the way hundreds of millions of people exchange information on the Internet, Google asserted in legal documents filed Monday evening.
Viacom, which owns MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon and Comedy Central, sued Google in March in U.S. District Court in New York for copyright infringement “on a massive scale” after requesting that the Mountain View Internet colossus remove more than 100,000 videos from YouTube.
In an 11-page response to Viacom, Google said Viacom’s suit “challenges the careful balance established by Congress when it enacted the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.”
The 1998 law, known as the DMCA, creates a so-called “safe harbor” for Internet companies that host content, protecting them from lawsuits provided they immediately take down material after they are notified that it infringes on a copyright.
Michael Kwun, Google’s managing counsel for litigation, said Google goes “well above and beyond what the law requires” by limiting the length of videos uploaded to YouTube, which Google acquired for $1.65 billion last year, to 10 minutes. Kwun said Google also uses a mathematical process to identify videos once they have been flagged by copyright owners in order to prevent the same stream of digital bits and bytes from being uploaded a second time.