April 19, 2013
Media and entertainment company Viacom Inc. lost another battle Thursday in its efforts to force Google Inc.'s YouTube to pay for alleged unauthorized posting of Viacom content.
For a second time, U.S. District Judge Louis L. Stanton in Manhattan threw out Viacom's $1 billion copyright infringement lawsuit, a year after a federal appeals court revived the case. The Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals instructed the judge to determine if YouTube had knowledge or awareness of specific infringing material and whether it willfully blinded itself to that specific content. Viacom sued YouTube, claiming the site allowed users to post copyrighted Viacom content without permission between 2005 and 2008, including content from Comedy Central's "The Daily Show," "The Colbert Report" and "South Park." "The burden of showing that YouTube knew or was aware of the specific infringements of the works in the suit cannot be shifted to YouTube to disprove," the judge said in granting YouTube's request to dismiss the case. "Congress has determined that the burden of identifying what must be taken down is to be on the copyright owner, a determination which has proven practicable in practice."
In a statement Thursday, Viacom said the ruling ignores prior court decisions and "completely disregards the rights of creative artists...We continue to believe that a jury should weigh the facts of this case and the overwhelming evidence that YouTube willfully infringed on our rights, and we intend to appeal the decision." Kent Walker, Google's general counsel, said the court "correctly" rejected Viacom's lawsuit against YouTube. "This is a win not just for YouTube, but for people everywhere who depend on the Internet to exchange ideas and information," Mr. Walker said. Despite the ongoing litigation, a number of Viacom units, , including Paramount Pictures and Comedy Central, have entered into deals to create channels on YouTube. The court case centers on YouTube's practices in the early days of video sharing, mostly before 2008. Viacom has said it pursued the lawsuit because it is interested in establishing a precedent. Viacom doesn't want any Internet company to "build a business" using unauthorized content, said a person familiar with the situation.
In June 2010, Judge Stanton found that YouTube was protected from infringement claims because the site moved to remove copyrighted material swiftly as soon as it was notified, using a "safe harbor" provision under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, a federal law. The judge granted summary judgment to YouTube in the case at the time, as well as in a separate lawsuit brought against the video site, also in 2007, by professional soccer league The Football Association Premier League Ltd. On appeal, YouTube had previously argued that the Digital Millennium Copyright Act gives legitimate services protection from "crushing infringement claims" while providing the copyright holder an expedient way to stop any misuse of their content. Viacom has claimed that YouTube intentionally sought to exploit tens of thousands of Viacom's copyrighted works, such as clips of "The Daily Show," and doesn't qualify for those protections. Wall Street Journal
Two days of political speeches and workshops are on tap at a hotel outside Harrisburg as conservative activists from across the state attend the annual Pennsylvania Leadership Conference. The highlight of the Camp Hill gathering is Friday's opening-day dinner. Scheduled speakers include Gov. Tom Corbett, Fox News contributor Stephen Hayes and Jim DeMint, the former senator from South Carolina who took over earlier this month as president of the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank. Pennsylvania's U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey is slated to speak earlier Friday.
The event includes panel discussions on the fight again compulsory union membership and the use of social media to get out the conservative message. Workshops include programs on citizen lobbying and states' rights. Former U.S. Rep. Marjorie Margolies of Montgomery County, appearing on 6ABC's "Inside Story" Sunday, said sources told her former U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak, of Delaware County, had moved to Pittsburgh for a teaching job, registered to vote there and could be setting himself up as the lone Democratic candidate for governor next year from western Pennsylvania. Sestak, who lost the 2010 U.S. Senate race to Pat Toomey, says he has been registered in Delaware County since 1970 and still lives there. He spends two days a week in Pittsburgh to teach at Carnegie Mellon University. "I'm a Delco boy, through and through," Sestak told us. Asked if he is thinking about running for governor, Sestak said: "I'm just making sure what I do is the right decision." Margolies was equally vague on "Inside Story" about her interest in running for her old seat, now that U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz says she will not seek another term and will instead run for governor in 2014. Philadelphia Daily News
The Republican Party of Pennsylvania has a new executive director who will be a familiar face to party insiders. Bob Bozzuto was promoted from deputy director of the state GOP, and before that he had been in charge of the party's statewide political operations. Bozzuto takes over from Michael Barley, who earlier this month became campaign manager for Gov. Corbett's reelection effort. "Bob has been a key member of my team since 2007 and strategically led our political and campaign efforts that helped to elect Governor Corbett, U.S. Senator Toomey, 13 congressmen, majorities in the State Senate, State House, State Appellate Courts and 51 County Courthouses," state Republican Chairman Rob Gleason said in a statement Thursday announcing the appointment. Prior to joining state committee, Bozzuto, 32, served as a legislative aide to former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, and also was an adviser in the latter's 2006 campaign. He lives in Cumberland County with his wife Alicia, and their son, Blase. "I am excited to do my part to take our party operations to the next level to elect Republicans up and down the ticket," Bozzuto said. philly.com
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