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Do you have an account at YouTube? Been using it lately? Think you might be able to do without it for a while?

Do you upload clips to YouTube? They're not copyrighted material are they? You're positively sure they're not?

Unless you have an onion router it might be a good idea to not log in to YouTube for a while. Farther down the line it might be a good idea to stay away from user data gluttons like Google altogether.

As reported in The Technological on 10 February 2007, Sumner Murray Redstone's Viacom have been making trouble for YouTube. Now that YouTube are owned by Google it gets worse - for Google will do anything to accommodate the big money. And Viacom are playing extremely hard to get.

Curiously another Sumner Murray company - CBS - had no trouble reaching an agreement with YouTube. But Viacom refuse. They've already filed lawsuit against YouTube/Google for $1 billion.

But now things get worse - now everything goes dark like Orwell.

Louis Stanton

The $1 billion lawsuit filed March 2007 also demanded Google turn over all web logs - and you know Google never throw anything away. And now US district court judge Louis Stanton has ruled on the issue. And he thinks it would be a Good Idea™.

Louis Stanton - Louis Lee Stanton - can be contacted through his courthouse.

Louis Lee Stanton
United States Courthouse
500 Pearl St Room 2250
Courtroom 21C
New York NY 10007

Chambers: +1 (212) 805-0252
Deputy Phone: +1 (212) 805-0123
Fax: +1 (212) 805-0389

Mike Abundo of Inside Online Video asks a few pertinent questions.

As a tech blogger I've heard a lot of stupid things from a lot of stupid people over the years. Stanton's statement has to be the stupidest thing I have ever heard. How the fuck did this guy become a judge?

How much did Viacom pay Stanton to say something this stupid?

Indeed.

Redstone Clues

Redstone isn't the most clued in billionaire ever. Nor is he some sort of notorious micromanager. Whilst the one arm of his financial empire are doing very well with YouTube thank you the other arm are consistently making a royal mess of things.

Back in 2006 Redstone was racing Rupert Murdoch to get MySpace; his management let the deal slip through their fingers. Redstone got involved only after the fact - not in time to save the deal but only to sack the scapegoats.

Meanwhile CBS have for the past two years enjoyed a significant ratings boost due to their agreement and exposure at YouTube.

Since the acquisition in November 2006 Google have reached agreements with a wide assortment of media sources: CBS, BBC, Universal Music Group, Sony Music Group, Warner Music Group, NBA, The Sundance Channel, and many more.

Yet four months later Viacom issued a takedown request for 100,000 YouTube clips - many of which were in fact removed - and filed their fantasy $1 billion lawsuit claiming 'we must turn to the courts to prevent Google and YouTube from continuing to steal value from artists and to obtain compensation for the significant damage they have caused'.

Not that Viacom need Google's logs to prove YouTube still have a number of Viacom clips online. Viacom's plan is much more sinister, says Mike Abundo.

'With your name and viewing history Viacom can sue you just for accidentally clicking through to an MTV clip on YouTube. In fact given how indiscriminately Viacom take YouTube videos down they'll probably sue you for watching any clip on YouTube.'

The central issue of course isn't the colossal ineptitude of Sumner Murray Redstone or the Quixotic misled management of Viacom; it's the fact all this data is being culled and cared for by information addicts Brin and Page.

For it's never about intent - it's about the data being out there in the first place.

Remember that guy who got fired from Viacom for not buying MySpace? Somebody at Viacom needs to get fired for this YouTube deadlock.
 - Mike Abundo

See Also
Tech Side Up: Viacom Sue Google for a Billion Dollars
WSJ: Complaint for Damages and Injunctive Relief and Damages (PDF)
Mike Abundo: Viacom Pull Clips Off YouTube - Again
Show Biz Data: Redstone Says He Fired Freston over Loss of Myspace Deal
Mashable: The YouTube Effect - CBS Gets Massive Boost
Inside Online Video: Viacom Will Sue You
CrunchBase: YouTube
TechCrunch: Judge Protects YouTube's Source Code, Throws Users To The Wolves
US District Court: Opinion and Order - Viacom v YouTube (PDF)
Inside Online Video: Viacom Lose $1B Suit v YouTube
Washington Post: YouTube Ordered To Release User Data
BBC News: Watching You, Watching Youtube
London Times Online: Google Forced to Reveal Users' Youtube Viewing Habits

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