Sunday, March 25, 2007

Viacom is Sued

In an interesting twist to the thickening plot of Viacom vs YouTube, the EFF and Stanford's Center for Internet and Society have filed suit against Viacom, claiming that the media company falsly submitted a request to remove a video from YouTube.

The video that was removed was a production by Civic Action and Brave New Films LLC, which included clips from "The Colbert Report," a show from Viacom's daughter company, Comedy Central. The makers of the video claim that their use was fair, and that Viacom incorrectly filed for the removal of the video.

The fair use doctrine stipulates that a copyrighted work may be used, so long as the portion used is small and that it does not harm the market for the copyrighted work, among others. The EFF and CIS maintain that video fell under the protection of fair use, and that it was inappropriate for Viacom to demand the removal of the video.

This side lawsuit brings up the interesting question of the role of DMCA for service providers, since the law does not rule in favor of the provider if they take too long to investigate the content upon receiving notice for its removal.

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