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5/1/2007
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Google Seeks Dismissal Of Viacom-YouTube Lawsuit

Google is relying on the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act's safe harbor provisions, which protect Internet service providers from liability for the actions of their users.

Google has moved to throw out a lawsuit claiming that YouTube clips constitute a "massive copyright infringement of Viacom's entertainment properties."

Google responded Monday to Viacom's $1 billion lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.

Google bought YouTube for $1.65 billion last October and signaled ahead of time that the purchase could subject Google to copyright claims. Viacom, the parent company of Comedy Central, MTV, Paramount Pictures, and Nickelodeon, sued less than six months later.

The lawsuit states that YouTube features nearly 160,000 unauthorized Viacom clips that have been viewed more than 1.5 billion times. The lawsuit is similar to complaints filed by publishers who claim Google is illegally enriching itself from their content.

After Viacom filed the complaint in March, Google asserted that its activities are legal and that YouTube respects the rights of copyright holders. In its court filing, Google continued to argue that the claims are unfounded and sought a dismissal.

As observers predicted last month, Google is relying on the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act's safe harbor provisions, which protect Internet service providers from liability for the actions of their users. The safe harbor protection states that Web site owners and operators are not responsible for copyright violations if they remove material upon copyright holders' requests.

"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 stated in its legal response.

Google wants a jury trial.

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