Google rejects Viacom's copyright claims

Google refuted claims it enables copyright infringement on YouTube.com

Google has rejected claims that it enables copyright infringement on its YouTube.com Web site, its first response to entertainment giant Viacom's US$1 billion lawsuit filed in March.

In documents filed Monday in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, Google outlined how it plans to defend itself against Viacom, which along with the damages wants an injunction to prevent further use of its content. Google requested a jury trial.

A cornerstone of Google's defense will be the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which has safe harbor provisions that relieve carriers and hosting providers from responsibility for copyright offenses as long as they remove the material.

"By seeking to make carriers and hosting providers liable for Internet communications, Viacom's complaint threatens the way hundreds of millions of people legitimately exchange information, news, entertainment, and political and artistic expression," Google said in its response.

Google, which completed its US$1.65 billion acquisition of YouTube in November, said it provides tools for copyright holders to find their material and uses technology to prevent videos from being reposted after they have been removed.

Viacom has contended that those tools aren't adequate, and filed suit in March about a month after demanding that Google remove 100,000 clips from YouTube.

Viacom filed a list of offending clips, including some from "MTV Unplugged," "The Ren and Stimpy Show" and "The Daily Show." The media company's properties include MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon, Nick at Nite, Comedy Central and Paramount Pictures.

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