Viacom Suing Youtube And Viacom’s 3 Points Of Stupidity

For those of you who haven’t heard. Viacom (The company that owns MTV and Comedy Central) is suing Youtube and the their parent company Google. Before I break into my bloodlust rant, here’s the skinny from the good folks over at Cinematical:

According to CNN, Viacom, parent company of MTV and Comedy Central, filed suit against YouTube and its parent company Google Tuesday. The suit alleges that YouTube has “almost 160,000 unauthorized clips of Viacom’s programming have been available on YouTube and that these clips had been viewed more than 1.5 billion times.” If that’s true, what does Viacom want from Google and YouTube in the way of damages? How about a cool billion dollars. Yes, I said billion.

Viacom is a bunch of inbred morons. I apologize… that was inappropriate. What I should have called them was a gaggle of fucktards and self ass-sniffers who probably pleasure themselves while watching Betty White smoke (no offense intended to Betty White). This is the most ridiculous lawsuit I’ve ever heard of, and only goes to prove how out of touch these media giants are who can’t ever seem to stop navel gazing long enough to see how the world is changing around them.

Let me break this down into what I call my “Points of Stupidity” and explain why this lawsuit is asinine on several levels:


Canadian law (a field which I worked in for a number of years before launching The Movie Blog) is a little different from American law… but I think the same principle here needs to apply. The principle is this: You can only really sue someone for no greater amount than what you can OBJECTIVELY SHOW THAT THE OTHER PARTY COST YOU. For example, if I accidently broke your $500 piano… you can’t sue me for $2000. You can only sue me for what I actually cost you. There are some exception obviously, but you get the idea.

Viacom’s argument here fails on this level. They would like you and the courts to believe that every time one of us saw a clip from an MTV show, or a Comedy Central show (that already aired and we missed) it COST them something. Even a 3 year old understands this is totally bullshit. The fact of the mater is that most of the clips you see are from shows that already aired (so you couldn’t watch it now anyway) that we don’t normally watch anyway. So me watching that 2 minute clip from The Colbert Report (which I missed, and don’t normally watch anyway) didn’t actually cost Viacom ANYTHING. Not a cent.


Keep in mind my scenario from Point #1. If I don’t normally watch The Colbert Report… but someone points me to a hilarious 2 minute clip from last weeks show… do you think I am now MORE likely or LESS likely to tune into the next show???? Obviously I’m now MORE LIKELY to try to catch the show. I never even HEARD of the Colbert Report before I saw a clip of it on Youtube.

Remember that whole thing with the Narnia clip from Saturday Night Live on Youtube a while ago? Come one now…. how many of us were watching Saturday Night Live anymore? NO ONE. That little short clip getting out on Youtube didn’t cost NBC a single penny. But what it did do, was get people doing what they haven’t done in years…. talking about Saturday night live again. All thanks to Youtube.


This one really gets me. Youtube provides a great free service to people like me. As you know, I like to do my video reviews and put them up on Youtube. Lots of people use Youtube for what it’s intended for… uploading their own videos. However… some brain dead idiots claim taht Youtuvbe ENCOURAGES people to upload illegal material. That is total HORSE SHIT and purposeful ignorance.

Yoube gives warnings and notices all over the place telling people only to upload what belongs to them. They even took the step of limiting how long of a video you can upload to 10 minutes (which I hate). To say that Youtube ENCOURAGES people to use their product for the wrong purposes is just idiotic.

Now, there are people who misuse Youtube for purposes other than what it’s intended for. Youtube is pulling illegal videos down all the time… they try to keep up. But children over at Viacom want to hold them responsible for the actions of other people. Here… take this scenario:

A company makes a lovely metal bread box… the product is for people to keep their bread in. Nice. It’s shinny and beautiful and hold bread very well. However, one guy decides to pick up the bread box and smash his neighbor’s head in with it. According to Viacom, the company that made the bread box should be held responsible. The Bread Box wasn’t made for that… it was made for a much more innocent purpose… but because someone used it for the wrong purposes… the BREAD COMPANY should be held to blame (according to Viacom).

This is stupidity beyond all reason.


Viacom is evil AND stupid (a dangerous combination). They are attempting to take away from us a fantastic free service that hasn’t cost them a cent (in any real terms) but has got people talking about their shows and given them tons of free publicity. They want to hold Youtube responsible for the actions of a few other people, and are claiming damages (A BILLION dollars) far beyond anything that they’ve actually lost.

Ok Viacom… way to go. You’re attempting to take away a fantastic free service I use (Youtube)? Fine. You just pissed me off (just an average regular internet user and media consumer). In the end, that kind of thinking is going to cost your company a lot more than Youtube ever has. That may not mean much in the grand scheme of things, so maybe you don’t care. Either way… Congratulations.

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83 thoughts on “Viacom Suing Youtube And Viacom’s 3 Points Of Stupidity

  1. Good discussion all around even if the “you’re insane (because you have a different world view than me)” comments are ever so slightly disconcerting…

    It’s about time someone shelved the out-o-court settlements and took copyright, fair use, infringement, the new media, etc. to the Supremes. As much as I hate all things boiling down to litigation, I would like to see the case law reworked for the 21st century. I find it hard to understand conglomerate reasons for dissuading use of “clips” on amatuer or professional (as in costs are assuaged through marketing or sales ventures) websites, however, were it my property I might like to have a say regarding its distribution. I do see YouTube and other fan sites as a way of creating necessary buzz to certain commodities, but then again, most networks (I believe Viacomm also own CBS as well as the afore mentioned Paramount, Comedy Central, MTV, and VH1) provide their own sites with “clip” content- easy to link to as opposed to posting an illegally copied file.

    Also crazy how the likes of NBC et al have chosen to utilize YouTube to showcase some of their preseason material (who’d of thunk posting HEROES pilot would have helped push the show to the cult hit status it has achieved).

    Anyhow, none of us have had an aneurysm due to lack of Napster files. This will get resolved so that entrepreneurship and capitalism and wacky web surfing can coexist peacefully once more.

  2. Couldn’t agree more with your post John, as for the guy who said “Be careful which high horse you climb on. Viacom is as big as the come.”

    OOOOOOOOOOO, time to hide behind the sofa WTF????

  3. As to “Point of Stupidity #1: The concept of damnages” – U.S. law allows for “presumed” statutory damages of up to $150,000 for each individual instance of copyright vioaltion if one can show that the violation was “willful”. In other words, you don’t have to prove any damages in this case. Damages are “presumed” through the statute (hence the $1-billion figure).

    That doesn’t mean that Viacom is right – it simply means that current U.S. copyright law is even more insane than you can possibly imagine.

    [If you are a true legal geek, you can look up the law yourself at U.S. Code Title 17, Chapter 5, Section 504.]

  4. Good points John. First of all, it’s definitely going to be very difficult to prove that they have lost a billion dollars, but probably not very difficult to convince a judge (as I assume they wouldn’t let this go to jury) that they have lost some revenue, which is why I can see them being awarded something WAY lower than what they are asking.

    As for your second point, I think Viacom would have a pretty good argument saying that it’s not their job to go around Youtube and figure out what violates their copyrights and then ask Youtube to take them down. I assume they want some kind of policing done without their help, which isn’t unreasonable for them to expect. However, the problem becomes figuring out a way for a small company to browse the hundreds of thousands of clips uploaded every day and figure out which one’s need to be taken down.

    And I know my analogy did not line up exactly right, but I was simply trying to make the point that Youtube is in essence responsible for what happens under their watch. (Off the point, which I think is just as ridiculous, parents of kids injured in baseball games because of how fast a ball comes off a metal bat in high school and college level games are suing the makers of metal bats, but thankfully have not succeeded.)

    And technically, by following your precedent, you are right. However, because you don’t deal in hundreds of thousands of posts a day (yet), it’s much easier for you to police your own website. If you did, and people started posting things that violate copyrights, and you can be held responsible, I am pretty sure you would QUICKLY come up with a way to stop that. In all honesty, I don’t think Viacom is actually trying to come up with the money in this case. I have a feeling that pretty soon Youtube is going to come out with some new way of keeping copyrighted material on Youtube to a minimum, which will allow Viacom to drop their suit.

    I’m in agreement that this is a totally ridiculous suit, which will never go to trial, but I can definitely see where Viacom is coming from. If their ultimate objective is to get a billion dollars from Youtube, NOT going to happen. However, if they are simply trying to give Youtube an extra incentive to come up with a way to keep their copyrighted materials safe, I think this is going to work. Probably not the best way to go about it, but that’s just my opinion. Thanks for responding to me.

  5. Hey Matthew,

    Thanks for your comments. Let me respond to them in your order:

    1) You just nailed the problem for Viacom. You can’t PROVE people skipped watching shows because they saw a 30 second clip. Youtube would have a much easier time “PROVING” that the clips influenced people TO watch the shows. (Neither can be done… but youtubes position would be easier). Beyond that, Viacom has to PROVE (not suggest) that 1 BILLION dollars worth of potential ad revenue was lost do to an equivalent ammount of viewers following their proposed scenario. They can’t.

    2) No one… not once… has sugested piracy is ok. I never once suggested that Viacom doesn’t have the right to request their copywritten material be taken offline if they find some. To the best of my knowledge, Youtube has always co-opperated with these requests.

    3) The problem with your analogy of the baseball coach, is that supervising the kids is his purpose. Also, in your analogy, Viacom isn’t worried about the Coach… they’re worried about the metal bat and are trying to sue the makers of the bat itself.

    Follow this through… by legal precedent, if this case were to succeed, then any website or blog that allows users to post content (written, graphical, audio or video) becomes responsible for the users. If a person puts up a comment on my site using derogatory language and I don’t catch it right away… then I (me!) could be sued for something someone else did. If someone brings it to my attention, and I choose to ignore it… that’s another matter.

    Good discussion.


  6. Just two quick comments:

    First, the legal question is not invalid at all. All Viacom has to do is prove that users have chosen to not watch the show on tv because they can watch the clips on Youtube. That may be stupid, but if they can prove that people have skipped out on watching on TV, they can claim losses for that action. And if they have some accountant in a corner of their building that came up with a way to calculate their losses at 1 billion, the court will take that claim. Obviously, that’s not a real number and even if they win the lawsuit, the final award will be knocked way down…but the legal argument is sound.

    Second, I know we all hate people that try to take our free enertainment, and I am one of them, but we have gotten way out of line in arguing for freedom to share copyrighted materials. TV shows that appear on YouTube are the intellectual property of the owners, and they should have every right to claim violation if it is posted against their will. I’m not saying I agree that we shouldn’t be able to watch them, and I watch clips on the internet all the time, but I am more than willing to admit it is wrong of me.

    As for your analogy, look at it this way: A boys little league baseball team practices every monday, with the coach as the only supervisor of the team. One day at practice, boy a hits the other over the head with a metal bat and kills boy b. Now boy b’s parents can sue not only boy a’s parents, but also the coach for failing to supervise the children appropriately. So the coach provides an environment for the children to play (YouTube) but boy a takes that environment to do something illegal (viewers of youtube). The parents of boy b (Viacom) have every right to claim that the other two parties were negligent. Hope that makes sense. It is YouTube’s job to make sure that nothing illegal goes on. I know they work hard at it, but don’t we all think that they intentionally miss things that are playing heavily, to increase their viewership? I sure do.

  7. Hot Topic (sung to “Hot Pocket” tune) I see this simply:

    1) Viacom content removed if they wish it. Some reasonable amount of money determined by a court of law if not taken down promptly after request.

    2) Google only just bought YouTube, Doubtful if all the bugs have been worked out yet.

    3) Video has to be visually screened by a human to verify content. A.I. does not yet know boobies, or actors working for which networks, or how “owns” what, ect. because video tags could be falsifed to it’s actual content.

    4) Ask youself, should compromising video of yourself appear on YouTube, would you want it removed asap? Your intellectual property?

  8. Hey John;
    Do you know of an instance where Viacom and other film distributors ask that their movie trailers be taken down from sites like You Tube?
    It seems they don’t mind if we take those particular videos and upload them and spread them around. They seem to like the free publicity they get when it comes to movie trailers.

    Like many others, there are show clips on YouTube that led me to check out some tv shows I would never have watched. I am pretty certain that should mean something to television stations. They need new viewers all the time to survive.

    Even though Viacom is right on some levels they are wrong on so many other levels, because no matter what they say publicity is good anyway you can get it and YouTube certainly helps studios get lots of free publicity. I wonder if they have really sat down and tried to calculate how much money they generate from the new viewers You Tube brings them as compared to how much good ol’ Sumner Redstone thinks he’s losing. The defense lawyers will probably bring htat up in court when it finally gets to court in around 2010.

    Anyway nice to see someone else rant about this beside myself on my own site.

  9. I think Face stated it correctly about the flagging system on You-Tube, and why there isn’t porn. It gets caught quickly. Besides, I’m sure the way the titling works, would flag it (“Boobie’s over here!” sort of thing). So, to say that You-Tube would have someone sit there and watch every video posted on its site is insane!

    What surprises me, though, is You-Tube gets sued for having short clips of programs that appear on TV, that the general public has no access to until they get released on DVD (if they ever do), and Viacomm gets upset? At least on You-Tube, most viewers don’t save the clips. However, everyone that goes to a torrent site downloads and has a hard copy of those programs, so, isn’t there a bit of a double-standard?

    Here’s something I came across today: On another video site on the internet, there’s videos posted of people breaking into their own cars and homes, and they actually show you how to create the tools to do so. Now, even though there’s a disclaimer stating to not break into other people’s property, what do you think most people will do with that information? If my house gets broken into and it’s deemed by a method that could’ve aired on one of those video sharing sites, can I go and sue the sites for providing that information even though the disclaimer is there not to use it for the purpose of stealing? I think I can, because even breaking into your own house is legally breaking and entering. The law is the law, and I think most people forget that.

  10. Reading this list of comments was almost physically painful.

    The reason there isnt any porn on youtube is because users flag it as inappropriate(that weird puritanical streak running through north America), when a certain video gets enough red flags it is taken down. This isnt likely to happen to any pirated video, ie “The Colbert Report”.

    The only way for youtube to screen posted content with current technology is to have someone sit there and watch every single posted clip. This is completely impractical since the number of posted clips every day is in the vicinity of 100,000. if you want to work that out, every clip being say 5 mins long, so thats around 8333hrs of footage a day, give or take.

    Viacomm hasnt been very helpful in the whole process either, they ordered youtube to take down 180,000 clips, about 10,000 of them had no viacomm content in them at all.

    So everyone that reckons the “BLAMING PERSON A FOR THE ACTIONS OF PERSON B” argument is unfounded, all i have to say is, “ignorance is bliss”… isnt it?

  11. BegsToDiffer

    Some of your comments got deleted because you apparently can’t read. Read the notice above the comments box.

    This comments section is for the discussion of the topic. Not about the poster, or other commenters or off topic subjects, or name calling.

    No comments were deleted because they disagreed with me. You must be blind. Look in this thread. LOTS of people disagree with me. So ask yourself, if you can, why they aren’t deleted and yours are.

  12. I love your site john,
    I think your championing youtube because you look at them as little like napstor, but naptopr made a mistake by owning servers and storing media. The very instance youtube closed that deal with Google they became a big time players. They got the power and the responsibility (just like Spiderman). Youtube has to learn how to handle that responsibility, there in a bigger pond. I can foresee the movieblog changing some things as the success comes also

  13. those who argue that youtube is actually helping viacom profits is absolutely absurd! that’s like saying “well sony should thank bestbuy for selling their tv’s which bestbuy stole. and we’re not giving sony a cent because we helped them sell tv’s to boost their image!”

  14. 2) No one here has said movie or video piracy are legal. Youtube isn’t pirating video. A few individual users are, and when Youtube discovers it, they remove it.

    That second sentence is wrong, wrong, and more wrong. Why the heck do you think Viacom needs to sue Youtube? You do not need to be Einstein to find pirated video on Youtube. Youtube knows about this content but doesn’t remove it. As people here have noted, you can find all kinds of copyrighted content on there yet nothing usually happens. It takes a lawsuit like Viacom’s for anything to happen.

    3) You tube does NOT pre-screen videos before allowing them to be posted.

    Are you even paying attention to what people here have said? Youtube is very strict about porn or anything that shows genitalia. The instant you put a video up that’s pornographic, they will remove it immediately. YET if you put up an entire movie seperated in parts they let it go.

    And no I’m not saying that liberalism leads to piracy. I’m saying that the liberal mentality which says basically people should have maximum freedom without considering ethics or morals leads to people being more lax about things like piracy. And my point about the free health care is that it compounds to the attitude that people shouldn’t need to pay for stuff.

  15. Jay –

    Ben and Jerry’s is making this flavor: Stephen Colbert’s Americone Dream.

    So everyone eat up while typing about Evil Viacom and the Great Money Grab ’07
    (so John won’t delete post for not being relevant to topic.)

  16. The truth of the matter is that you can’t fight the onslaught of the digital age. All that you can do is upgrade your worldview and try to find a way to BENEFIT from new technology, instead of fighting it.

    Viacom needs to take advantage of YouTube for their own promotion, instead of trying to take a bite out of it. Release their own clips from shows and entertaining promos for exclusive distribution over YouTube. I guarantee that you could generate your billion-dollars’ worth of revenue by driving people to your product, instead of pissing people off and just forcing the pirate-video-posters to use another service.

    YouTube HAS taken down a crap-load of illegal content, but unless you have the population of a small city working for you, you can’t screen every one of the however many hundreds-of-thousands of videos are posted every day.

    Incidentally, I’ve downloaded every episode of Heroes from bittorrent, but you better frickin’ BELIEVE that I’m going to buy it on DVD when it comes out.

  17. “…paramount perhaps?? wink wink nudge nudge…”

    Yes Alfie,
    Even if no one else caught it, I noticed that you managed to work in a dig at Transformers in a post about YouTube, ViaCom and copyright infringement. My hat is off to you, sir. I didnt think you had that kind of resourcefulness in you, but I stand corrected.

    I’m not upset nor do I want to upset you.
    I just wanted to tell you that I was impressed.

  18. John here. Let me address a couple of things:

    1) Napster was CREATED for the sole purpose of sharing music illegally

    2) No one here has said movie or video piracy are legal. Youtube isn’t pirating video. A few individual users are, and when Youtube discovers it, they remove it.

    3) You tube does NOT pre-screen videos before allowing them to be posted.

    4) As I’ve said on this website and on my show 100 times before, I was a legal researcher and Litigation Paralegal… NOT a lawyer.

    5) I never said “Free Publicity” was a legal argument. I said it went to showing Viacom to being stupid.

    Hope that clears some of that up. Good discussion on both sides all.

  19. To BegsToDiffer and JoJoDancer

    There was no lying on the Changeling post. I got wrong information and made a post based on my misconception. When commenters pointed out my error… I just deleted the post… because my post was wrong. I’ve done over 6000 posts on The Movie Blog. Once in a while I make a mistake… then remove it. Simple.

    It’s just that cut and dry. I don’t know where some people come out calling me a “Liar”. Oh well. Some people just like to bitch.

  20. BegToDiffer..

    John…er… recently put up a post about the new THE CHANGELING film project coming from Clint Eastwood. The new film in the works has nothing to with the original haunted house classic, but John didn\’t catch that, as he was trying to pass off that he had seen the original and was recommending it as good source material to remake a film with.

    People were being kind in the thread and not trying to shove it back in John\’s face, but someone called him out on it and his comment was deleted when he asked John to respond. Then the entire thread was deleted shortly afterwards.

    A couple people apparently have screen caps of the page, but you can go to Yahoo and see a cached version, minus the last few comments.

    Not a big conspiracy to me, but kinda funny damage control all the same.

  21. Louman is obviously a troll Alfie. Liberalism leads to public opinion that things should be free, which leads to piracy? Theres no way anyone really believes that.

  22. Jake, I know that companies ask Youtube to take down clips, and for the most part, Youtube takes down the files in question. I see no problem with anything going up on youtube besides entire films. While it may be true that legally, Youtube is at fault, its not like it doesn’t generate buzz for viacom’s products. Viacom is gaining more money from youtube than they are losing from it and suing for 1 billion is a little fucking excessive.

  23. louman….are you serious or are you just trying to rile people up??

    wanting health care for everyone leads to piracy???… that what you are trying to say…

    liberalism leads to piracy…jesus christ…..

    you right wingers make some hilarious claims at the best of times but that takes the cake my friend….fucking ridiculous

  24. For starters, I’m no fan of copyright law in the United States. It’s broken, plain and simple. Disney is making billions on the backs of characters and stories that it mined from an era when the idea of the “public domain” was still valuable. And they’re not the only ones.

    That being said, I think YouTube really might lose this (or at least have to settle for an huge sum). Why? Because they might actually be in the wrong here.

    I have just a little experience with a situation very much like this one. I used to work for a company very much like YouTube that was sued my a media conglomerate very much like Viacom. The case never went to trial, but the settlement forced the company to sell itself off and fork over half the sale proceeds to the media giant.

    Why? Because our company had looked the other way while users posted thousands of major label music videos to the site. At the time I worked there, I had very much the pirate attitude. I was the first person to say “Fuck the big media corporations, copyright is dead, blah blah blah.” The president of the company largely felt the same way. He used to brag about getting into screaming matches with record label execs on the phone.

    But over time, a thought occurred to me. We weren’t a grassroots anti-copyright movement, bravely butting heads with the evil empire. We were a company, a for-profit entity. And we were running ads next to other people’s content. People that hadn’t agreed to any kind of licensing agreement. And the presence of this content (and the ad impressions it lead to) were lining the pockets of a company that had nothing to do with the creation of said content.

    I’m not defending media conglomerates. They are, in fact, evil. And I do, in fact, use every method possible to avoid giving them my hard-earned money. But we can’t say that this suit is frivolous just because we don’t like the people bringing it to court. And let’s face it: YouTube is no longer the “little guy.” This isn’t David and Goliath. It’s more a Clash of the Titans.

    It’s no secret that YouTube doesn’t filter for your content unless you sign a licensing agreement with them. That was their first mistake and likely what really pissed off Viacom. They’ve also been trying to hide behind the DMCA “safe harbor” provision, which can only apply if you use ZERO filtering technology. As many have said, they clearly filter for porn, so how can they keep using that excuse?

    While the 1 billion dollar figure is definitely high, let’s think about it a little bit. First of all: c’mon, humans have been aiming high for thousands of years in the hope that they’ll get at least halfway. It’s standard practice to go for the throat on the initial figure. And Microsoft has settled patent/antitrust disputes for figures approaching 1 billion more than once. Second of all, the argument that YouTube’s popularity was built on the backs of copyrighted content is not entirely trivial. Sure, there’s been a huge community of video creators who have boosted YouTube’s popularity, but the cultural importance of the site only really started when we found out we could watch things we forgot to watch on television. Every story on YouTube mentions the fact that the site only really took off when copies of “Lazy Sunday” started popping up. Since then, YouTube has been like a massive DVR of the collective consciousness. So when YouTube goes and gets sold for 1.6 billion, it’s not completely unrealistic to think there might be some companies out there who think they’re entitled to a large chunk of that sweet sweet lucre.

    Either way, Viacom is being stupid. Surprise! Bet you didn’t see that coming. They’re putting themselves in a position that will only alienate their customers further, even if that’s more about the perception of the situation than the reality.

    But being stupid doesn’t necessarily mean being wrong.

  25. Neither party is innocent here.

    Viacoms lawsuit is excessive, yes, $1 billion is nuts! But it’s leverage to try to force Google to cut them in on ad revenues. Something Google wants to do anyways. They were in talks with Warner Bros. and Universal regarding this but have yet to negotiate a satisfactory deal.

    Here is a piece you neglected from the breadbox analogy;

    Third party hands metal breadbox to the assailant and say’s “here, bash him over the head with this” (witnesses heard him say it)

    You Tube is the third party but is owned by Google, the breadbox maker.

    True, the internet is changing the world of media and copyright. Legal systems have yet to catch up. And yes, exposure on You Tube is good for Viacom and other media producers. But, should Google be the sole beneficiary of advertising revenues on You Tube when they clearly benefit from having content, produced under someone else’s copyright, on their servers?

  26. Look they are crying because of money that they “could” of made if people actually bought these movies. That’s all it comes down to. It’s money that they could of made and they are mad cause people are watching their products for free – or at least clips of their products.

  27. I am in the middle here….you tube has introduced me to a lot of things that I have wound up buying or watching that I had never heard of before…..but I can also see that viacom have a point….it is similar to the whole napster music downloading problems when lars urlich became this huge villain yet no one has ever given me a reason or explaination that justified stealing music….

    I just could not see the difference between downloading a song illegally and shoplifting at a cd store?? the only justification seemed to be that rock stars are rich so fuck em…..that was it…it was and is stealing ….if a plumber comes to you your house to do a job do you just decide to not pay him? of course not…musicians are lucky enough to be able make money from making music….if they are successful they wind up being rich I just don’t see how why that means they should just give us their work for free…bands get fucke dhard from record sales due to their shitty labels soit is hard enough as it is without hundreds of kids just stealing the ashit…..

    anyway getting off topic….

    I can see viacoms point – they do own the material and they decide who gets to show what to whom….at the end of the day they have paid to have this stuff made and they own it…..whether or not it is stupid is not the point…it is their right…..but from my personal experience you tube has just been a series of advertisments for me…I have bought tv show box sets….cds….comedy albums all sorts of stuff after having seen a clip on you tube…..things I may never have heard of….so if that respect I agree it is stupid

    I mean someone had put up king kong in its entirity piece by piec “kong pt1 kong pt 2 kong pt3 etc etc etc” … lets face it if someone is going to watch a film that way chances are they were never going to pay for it…you know what I mean???why on earth would you watch a film like that?? i persoanlyl think if you were to watch a film like that you were never going to pay for it so in a twisted logic kind of way no one has lost any money because the person watching would never have paid for it anyway…I know that is twisted logic but i am just rambling

    I agree with most of johns points but i can see viacoms point too……

    THE BIGGEST QUESTION for me of course though john…do I really have to ask??? I think you know where this is going…..I am just wondering if this anger at viacom wil filter down to their companies….like oi dunno…let me see…like….ohhhh…paramount perhaps?? wink wink nudge nudge……

  28. Im fully aware that the younger generation has the least money, yet the better access and knowledge of the internet and downloads, but you just said exactly what im thinking to:

    Quote:”And also, younger people tend to be more into computers and internet than older people”

    exactly, so while younger people may be the larger pupulation of illegal downloaders, they are also the largest population of legal downloaders, and while they may well have the least money, the money they do have is quite often not required for must else other than themselves which they use to spend on whatever they please, which is commonly digital media and internet related activities. not to mention the money they get from mommy and daddy.

  29. ricci,

    i think on a whole, it’s generally younger people who download more. People between the ages 12-35 are the biggest abusers of online piracy. It’s especially strong in colleges where there are entire networks using DC++ where media content is shared.
    Younger people also have the least amount of money, so they can’t afford to buy as much as older adults can. And if they can’t afford the latest movie, or they can’t afford (or are too cheap to buy) Cable TV (i’m talking to you John), they download the stuff instead.
    And also, younger people tend to be more into computers and internet than older people. All these factors lead me to believe that younger people (ages 12-35) are the main users of software like Bittorrent, Limewire, etc etc..

    But yes, Chudtrainer is right on. There’s no such thing as a free lunch. and John you’ve been getting too fat from free lunches.

  30. Hey funktard. Do your research. Viacom has been publicly asking YouTube to take down the clips for the past six months. YouTube was obviously not getting the message.

    This is not some out of the blue lawsuit. Not by any stretch.

    Clips. Episodes. Music videos. Entire feature length films. How can you guys sit there and justify that material being posted?

    Even if you want to concentrate on just the show clips being posted (which is a pointless sidenote), then you still have no ground to stand on.

  31. gio, i think you should be more specific when you say you used to work for the law field, it’s very misleading. it’s gets people believing that you were actually a lawyer before this stupid movie blog thing.

  32. The comments about the young generation taking what they want for free is a load of bullshit, its the younger generation that are spending the most amount of money on the internet for music, film and TV – yes there are masses that get there fix for free, but do u really believe its the 30 somthings + buying all tunes and such for there ipod etc…? no its the kids, who could just as easily get the album/movie/tv show from torrents.
    Dont band a group of people together with no logic behind it.

    The lawsuit imo is valid, and its been along time coming, the first time I logged into youtube many months ago and found full episodes of popular TV shows I thought ‘Wheres the lawsuit’ its piracy, and while some of the offense is down to the user, the people hosting it are also to blame. its illegal material.

    And to the retards commenting on canadas laws and blaming them for mass piracy, you dont have a clue what the hell your talking about.

  33. viacom is retarded. I agree with you 100% there John. THe clips were not full clips of the show, and I choose what CDs I BUY and what shows I support by watching Youtube clips. They oculd easily simply ask Youtube to take the clips off, which Youtube is more than willing to do. Insttead they decide to be greedy little fuckers about it and hurt an extremely helpful corporation to them . And 1 billion dollars. WTF???/??

  34. You have said what I was unable to do and I am very grateful. Viacom are very foolish to destroy such a fantastic platform. YouTube is what turned me on to Jon Stewart, and reminded me how great South Park still is. I also never heard of Drawn Together but now I am a massive fan … what they’ve done is alienated the biggest audience in the world, and if 1/10th of the people bought their shows thanks to YouTube the profits for them would be enormous. Fools.

  35. Nice one JoJo!

    John comes across as one of these whint dorm rats who make every excuse in the book as to why they should be getting something for nothing. Pathetic.

    \”The Official Home of Correct Movie Opinions\”??

    More like \”The Official Home of Self-Serving Opinions\”

  36. I forgot to add: whoever caught it about Viacomm owning Paramount and the rights to TF! Nice one! See, when someone is mad, they do tend to forget the little details.

    Right John…You did forget… ;)

    Paul, I gotta agree with you as well. The young today are of a completely different mindset than those of us a decade older. There’s no respect for property or rights among the young. They take what they want, because it’s there. And if there’s a way to not pay for it (and sometimes if there is) well, taking from a big company is fine with them. The justification is that they can afford the loss.

  37. When John finishes his documentary, let\’s just post it at YouTube, yes?

    Oh, and if John wants to counter by saying \”Well, it\’s my first and I want the exposure anyway.\”..then let\’s remind him that EVERY film he will make will be uploaded to YouTube so people can watch them, forget about them, and move on without paying him.

  38. I don’t think free publicity can be an argument for youtube or file sharing sites anymore. I have a roomate who is 18 and actually refuses to watch tv, she doesn’t even own one, but she loves family guy. Everytime I tell her about a funny episode she goes straight to youtube to download it. I think the new younger under 18 generation is starting to get used to all this free media and in another ten years if something doesn’t change the only thing we are going to be able to watch on tv is going to be reality shows and funny video shows because nothing else will be profitable.

    I hate big corporations just like every other red blooded american but I also make commercials for a local tv studio and own my own t-shirt company. Dumb teenagers who have no clue about how to run a company are always offering to wear my clothes for free to get me free publicity. But I don’t need publicity, I need cash to pay my bills. And I doubt there are many 18-35 year olds who haven’t already heard of family guy to where fox needs to be giving out free episodes to whoever wants them.

  39. Instead of saying what I wanted to, just read Harry and TedWards posts again. Total agreement with those two.

    As for Some Guy, it’s ironic and funny that someone in a country such as the US (I’m guessing he’s in the States) with archaic laws that allow for frivolous lawsuits (like a thief suing a property owner when he got hurt breaking into their home, and winning!) could, or would, put the blame on Canadians, when 1) You Tube and Google are American companies, 2) most of the posters are American, 3) more Americans drink Pepsi, which we know is worse than Coke (HAHA, just with you Pepsi drinkers), 4) the insanity with which Americans think that everytime there’s a problem, they look at the rest of the world, instead of themselves.

    If the laws of the US are there to protect copyright owners, patent holders, and creative rights, how can there be laws to also protect the thieves that stole those intellectual rights, sold them, and are allowed to continue to operate, paying only minimal damages (if any at all) to the original rights creators/holders?

  40. Someone above said YouTube was not to blame for the infringing conduct of its users. I say when Youtube allows users to enbed infringing clips in other sites with their enbed feature that they are knowingly distributing content that doesn’t belong to them.

    whats this on the AP wire. . . Google to start a cable station . . .they will record the top shows on broadcast TV and rebroadcast on their cable station with no license fee to the creators. Seems they just want to give the public what they want . . . the best of TV on one station, free from the tyranny of channel surfing

  41. Gio is dead wrong once again. YOu’re trying to make very loose arguments against Viacom’s strong argument. Viacom is perfectly justified to sue Youtube because Youtube is profiting from their intellectual property without giving them any money. I think the reason why you’re so angry at this is because 1. you don’t have any cable TV, so you depend on Youtube for your “free” tv, 2. you think that Youtube is perfectly justified in profiting from another company’s works.

    Your point #1 is just plain old stupid and very wrong. Youtube has no right at all to even air 2 minute clips of tv shows like Cobert Report. Get that through to your head. You mentioned 2 minute clips, but how about whole episodes of tv shows or entire movies seperated in parts? So if i watched an entire movie or tv show on Youtube, that doesn’t cost Viacom anything?

    Point 3 is even more stupidity. No logic whatsoever, dude. Youtube encourages people to put up illegal material because it doesn’t enforce any of its terms of service. The only thing they do enforce is banning Porn or anything that shows genitalia, but not movies, tv shows, music videos.

  42. Youtube has the same disclaimers in place from the very beginning.

    When you upload a file you agree that you are the owner of that content and if content is added without permission from the owner, it is deleted by YouTube on request.

    A grand majority of YouTube users are using it for EXACTLY what it was meant for. Its the small minority that uploads content THEY know is not their property.

    As for “Some guy” above, keep in mind that the same claims against Canadians and piracy are the same problems that the US has with movie piracy. Your statements cannot be directed at Canada in general without considering yourself.

    The only difference with Canadian laws is that it IS legal to make a backup of any property you already own. Its still illegal to go to Blockbuster, rent a movie, and copy it. Or download it online, or buy it from a pirate vendor on the sidewalk in NY City.

  43. Your damn fucking right Gio. Not just that but Viacom sent emails to youtube users telling them they commited a crime, but later said it was an error. What a stupid fucking mistake. I wrote Viacom an email expressing my thoughts on this.

  44. It was only a matter of time before Youtube got sued into oblivion. I can’t believe Goggle even bought it.

    Side note: What is it with Canadians and their justification for piracy? The sites giving out free tv shows are based in Canada. Studios might delay releasing movies there because a lot of the movie piracy comes from Canada. Does everyone in Canada just have a disrepect for intellectual property?

  45. I was just about to type what Allan just posted. YouTube only removes protected material after it is asked to, but the damage has been done which differentiates this case from the Marvel Comics one. City of Heroes prevented it from the beginning and had proper safeguards in place. YouTube can’t make that claim, and even worse, as Allan stated, they obviously have the ability to prevent certain material from getting posted.

  46. As stated a few times above, Money grab through and through.
    What type of things loaded to youtube is nothing new. Viacom sat back until a suitable size of money was available to heist. Do they have the rights on their material? Of coarse they do, but not the same amount that google paid to buy youtube. Viacom mainly wants youtube for themself to broadcast with. I bet they themselves have loaded videos on youtube as promos and personal content.

  47. last point,
    you tube is responsible for everything on its network. why is there no porn on you tube? because everything is scanned before posting. that means when copyrighted material is uploaded to you tube someone some ware says “that’s OK” and approves it. this is how Napster died. if you tube is a free for all then john is right, but they do scan to keep it somewhat clean & this will be the fall of it.

  48. $1 billion is a bit ridiculous; agreed. But the law is the law and Viacom is mostly right on this. While I agree with your frustration, when I’m trying to sell a DVD of whatever show, I don’t want some site constantly allowing people to post that material on the internet. Because A) it probably DOES hurt my business, and B) IT’S ILLEGAL!

    And the 10 minute thing is bullshit. People just post parts 1, 2 and part 3 of a show.

  49. Marvel Comics sued the makers of the City of Heroes MMORpg. Their suit was that the game had specific mechanics in the character creation phase that made it possible for people to mimick their trademarked super heroes.

    City of Heroes won the suit because they themselves did not violate the trademarks, and they have disclaimers and naming policies that forbid making a character that is trademarked. The precedent is already set in the US supreme court.

  50. I agree with Ioan (think thats John in Welsh not sure) Don’t worry though, all things wll out, especially thanks to the fact that Google has a bigger lawyer army than the Marines has…marines. So we should be alright.

  51. Nothing will come from this rediculous law suit. Ever since Google bought YouTube they have complied with every take down request, every single one. The courts will do nothing about this whineing.

    And yes, Napster tried the same argument, the difference being Napster almost never complied with take-down requests. YouTube doesnt have the ability to prevent certain copyrighted from being uploaded, but the do have the ability to remove content, which is what they do when the copyright holder requests it.

    You cannot ban a technology because some people abuse it. Im personally not aware of what information must be provided to YouTube in order to have an account, but Viacom should be getting warrants for specific user information from YouTube and should be going after the uploading inviduals, which is something the MPAA cant do with bittorrent because of the annomity of it all, but these are user specific accounts, they should be held liable, not YouTube, as Im sure they have rules about uploading known copyrighted material.


  52. John. I think your “rant” is a bit winded and long in the tooth, but overall, you do make some good points. If there is “copyright infringement” YouTube puts the axe to the clip, without further delay. I do not, however, have any problem with a ten minute time limit.

    But don’t think I’m 100% on your side either. See, I happen to agree with Allan and Ted above. Viacom isn’t taking away YouTube.

    Oh..and one other thing. Who cares if you worked in a law office in BC? Is Canadian law the same as US Laws? No. Just more easier to follow- because like it was said above, these sorts of things can drag on in our courts until the point of the suit itself is a moot point.

  53. Didn’t Napster try to use the same argument as your “point of stupidity #3”?

    And do you honestly think that Viacom just picked $1 billion out of thin air like it’s Dr. Evil making a demand?

    Of course Viacom can point to specific figures of damages that it thinks it is owed. And I’m also positive that a settlement with a guarantee against unlicensed material being posted is all Viacom is probably looking for here.

    I don’t understand why everyone thinks that a company shouldn’t take all the measures it can to protect its own material. Companies pay big money for syndication rights and then there are DVD sales. Those get diminished (if only slightly) by constant free exposure on the Internet.

    It’s a legitimate argument and an interesting one to see how it plays out, all ranting aside.

  54. I can picture the head of Viacom at their board meeting, scheming and doing his best Dr. Evil impersonation. “We will sue this YouTube for … (wait for it) … one BILLION dollars!” (cue maniacal laugh)

    My prediction is this lawsuit goes nowhere. Look how successful the MPAA has been in curbing music piracy (and no, suing individual people and settling for $2k a pop does not a success make). Let them rant and rave.

  55. Although I agree with the fact that these big corporations are villianous, I don’t think that they’re completely wrong.

    They’re not suing the software companies that allow for capturing video onto a computer. They’re suing a distribution network (ie the website) which (for better or worse) SHOULD have some control over what content is put on their own site.

    By your logic, if child-pronographers use YouTube to show children getting sodomized, then YouTube has no responsibility whatsoever on this issue either. So long as they just put a warning on their site to ‘not post children getting raped’, then YouTube has done their legal & civic-duty.

    A distinction must be made between the software & the website.

    The software developers who developed the flash-based system that YouTube has made popular is NOT responsible for the content that is used in conjuction with their software.

    BUT, YouTube – the website, does have some responsibility in regards to the content that is put on own site.

    Viacom is definately overeacting to this (1 billion dollars? That’s a joke!), but you CANNOT say that YouTube (the website) is innocent of any wrong-doing here.

    Although, they do make a concerted effort to remove content that they are asked to remove, and suing them for that much for this is ridiculous.

    I disagree with you completely though about YouTube’s (and therefore any other web-site’s) responsibility in the matter of what content is shown on their website.

  56. I disagree john,
    Everyone thinks you tube is a pile a homemade videos of kids lip sinking, bums fighting & etc. I, just like a lot of movie blog readers liked the superman & justice league material, I found on you tube a complete DVD sets of the newest Superman TAS, Batman & Justice league Seasons on you tube. I watch pretty much all of them to the point where I don’t think it, but “I know” I was stealing. Borat the movie found it way on you tube for a quick week or so. Google fell into a pile of it when they bought this venture (that too this day never turned a profit ounce, if you look at their bandwidth bills) It can’t be a free for all site out there without paying for it someway. Everyone who creates anything (software, entertainment reviews, books) deserves to get credit and payed for what they do. If the movieblogs content was give out without going through you advertisers you’d be a little pissed, Viacom is a major player, this suit will kick off a armada of law suits. The money goggle paid for you tube, I will bet that money is isolated from Google in their agreement, in essence “ here some money clean up your mess”.

    P.S> I going to blockbuster to buy those justice league videos.

  57. Please, Viacom isn’t trying to take your YouTube away from you, they simply want to take their marbles elsewhere. YouTube will still be there regardless of what happens with this suit. I think the real story here is that you have consumed the Google cool-aid. Viacom bad . . .Google cool and good. Give me a break they are both for profit companies looking to maximize dollars. Frankly they are in the same business with one big distinction. Viacom licenses or creates (read compensates creators for their property)content for ad supported exhibition. YouTube gets lots and lots of donated content and a very significant amount of contents that belongs (infringing content) to others for ad supported exhibition.

    I put to you that if Narnia and South Park weren’t on YouTube they wouldn’t be able to generate enough ad revenue from your video reviews to stay in business.

    By the way if I found a way to monitize your video reviews and didn’t cut you in on the money . . . I’m sure you wouldn’t be patting me on the back.

  58. Shit Gio/John, that’s actually pretty tight. Good post. I don’t normally agree with your movie opinions and such, but you’re pretty much right on here.

    With regards to Kurt’s statement above “Be careful which high horse you climb on. Viacom is as big as the come.” this isn’t meant as an attack (yeah, i read the new disclaimer), but that really is a dumb thing to say.

    I HATE IT when people use the terms “high horse”. It’s pompus. And who cares if Viacom is big? Should campea kneel and curtsy too?

  59. “a gaggle of fucktards and self ass-sniffers who probably pleasure themselves while watching Betty White smoke”

    LOL! That really cracked me up, John.

    I could be wrong, but I think Viacom’s argument is less about what it cost them than it is about them wanting a piece of the income YouTube makes by hosting those clips. (Money made from the advertising on the page.)

    Viacom could also argue (though it is rather pathetic) that people watching South Park clips on YouTube cost them in DVD sales of the show.

    I agree the whole thing is pathetic. Viacom clearly doesn’t “get” the Internet. I think it’s great that you have agreed to boycott their products — if more people take such a stand that will hurt them where it matters most — in annual revenue.

    But as another commenter pointed out — will you really cease all gushing about The Transformers, and refuse to see it yourself?

  60. The breadbox analogy was right on. This is 2 things, 1) A pure money grab by viacom. And 2) An example of a company fearing what it doesn’t understand.

  61. Brilliant editorial Mr. Campea.

    This lawsuit really does point out, as you say in your article, just how out of touch these media companies are. They try to ignore the realities of the modern technology and media age and cling to the old ways of thinking.

    Your piece lays out common sense. Why is common sense so rare these days?

    Just 1 tip for you. Ease off a little bit on the “ranting” and swearing parts of your article and I think more people will listen.

    Aside from that, an article that is very well put, and very well said sir.

  62. This lawsuit will take so long to process that the technology will have massively moved on before the courts get anywhere with it. God bless the speed of the intertubes over the creaky wheels of justice.

  63. “You just pissed me off (just an average regular internet user and media consumer). I’m done with you and your companies.”

    Heh. You realize that Viacom owns Paramount and Paramount is making Michael Bay’s Transformers, the official ‘gaga’ movie of the Movie Blog.

    Something tells me you might bend that little above statement there….

    Be careful which high horse you climb on. Viacom is as big as the come. Anything that lumbering and massive is going to do stupid things that have consequences. But it’s hard to…you know, put the beast out it is misery.

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