Updated: February 2013

Viacom v. YouTube

Consumer Action joined the National Consumers League, Consumers Union, and the U.S. Student Association in an amicus brief supporting YouTube-Google in the Viacom v. YouTube case. The case, now in U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit, is key to staving off threats to online innovation and expression.

Last year, lower courts granted Google a summary judgment in Viacom’s lawsuit against YouTube. At issue is whether YouTube was protected by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), a law that protects against claims of copyright infringement if the content was uploaded by users to a website used by the general public. Viacom filed an appeal, bringing the case to the Second Circuit appeals court.

The amicus brief, prepared by Anthony P. Schoenberg of the San Francisco lawfirm Farella Braun + Martel LLP, states: "Websites like YouTube have revolutionized the media by democratizing it. There is no doubt that this revolution has benefited independent authors, filmmakers and musicians whose success is now determined more by talent and popularity than by the whim of media-outlet gatekeepers.  But this democratization of the media has also directly and undoubtedly benefited their audience—the workers, consumers, and students that amici represent. [...] It is not an overstatement to suggest that this case has the potential to decide whether the internet continues to be the transformational forum for the exchange of ideas and the conduct of commerce that it is today.

 Click here to download a PDF copy of the brief.


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