Monday, March 26, 2007

Viacom OpEd

Viacom's head lawyer, Michael Fricklas, has an editorial in WaPo saying that YouTube is a leech making money off of other people's intellectual property:
Google and YouTube wouldn't be here if not for investment in software and technologies spurred by patent and copyright laws. It's time they respected them.
Nice to see Viacom's head counsel's thoughts on the issue, though Fricklas is obviously not catering to the Demetri Martin crowd. The piece begins to lose steam at the end, where it talks about fairness and who it's fair to burden with the job of policing for infringing videos. I'll hand it over since Techdirt nailed it pretty well:
Fricklas may damage his own case towards the end where he talks about how unfair it is to put the burden of tracking the content on companies like Viacom, noting how difficult it is: "Putting the burden on the owners of creative works would require every copyright owner, big and small, to patrol the Web continually on an ever-burgeoning number of sites. That's hardly a workable or equitable solution." Yet, somehow it's "workable and equitable" to expect Google to do the same thing? The safe harbor provisions of the DMCA are there for very good reasons: to keep the platform providers from being responsible for what their users do. If Viacom is upset that fans are promoting their shows for them (and we still haven't quite figured out why), then why don't they do what the law says they should, and sue the fans uploading the content?
Then, the real losers will be the Demitris of the world.
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