Judge Tosses Out Viacom’s $1B Lawsuit vs. Google

A federal judge today ruled that Google wasn’t liable in the $1 billion copyright infringement lawsuit brought by Viacom. In a 30-page ruling, U.S. District Judge Louis Stanton in New York threw out the three-year-old suit before it went to trial, concluding that Google’s YouTube had removed illegal materials as required by the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

In the long-standing feud, Viacom had alleged YouTube was built up as the Internet’s premiere video-sharing site by allowing and promoting the unauthorized use of video taken from Viacom cable channels like MTV and Comedy Central.

In the decision, Stanton stated that Viacom spent months gathering around 100,000 videos infringing its copyright and then sent YouTube a takedown notice for all of them on Feb. 2, 2007. Before the next business day ended, Stanton noted, the Google-owned website had pulled nearly all of the videos in question.

Referring to the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Stanton said Viacom’s dispute was not valid because “when YouTube was given the [takedown] notices, it removed the material.”

Viacom is expected to appeal the decision.

Follow Christopher Heine on Twitter at @ChrisClickZ.

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