Friday, October 20, 2006

Google, Youtube and the DCMA

Bambi Francisco at MarketWatch has an interesting point about the potential for law suits coming from Youtube. I don't know if this is anywhere close to correct but it is interesting.


"The biggest reason the media giants don't have much legal ground to stand on is because of the protection of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) safe harbor, which offers ample protection to YouTube and, frankly everyone on the Internet, according to Fred von Lohmann, senior intellectual property attorney at Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Translation: The DMCA essentially says that even if a company is infringing, they get a free pass.

They would only be found to be willfully infringing if they did not respond to a notice to take down copyrighted material. So, even if I can go to YouTube and see 500 video clips of Seinfeld, YouTube would not be liable under the DMCA, even if it's not proactive about taking down the material, according to von Lohmann.

This safe harbor protection that Congress granted to Internet companies in 1998 puts the burden on the copyright owner and the infringer, not the technology or service that allows for such material to be delivered or shared, said von Lohmann, who makes an excellent point about how the entire Internet ecosystem would be in trouble if it weren't for the DMCA.

After all, if the DMCA didn't work, Google might be held responsible for linking to a page that has copyrighted content, he said. The DMCA has to provide protection or else, as von Lohmann puts it: "The Internet would be sued out of business."

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