Google has prevailed in a resuscited billion dollar court case, as a United States judge found that it had followed the so-called safe harbour provisions for carriers and providers in the country's often criticised Digital Millennium Copyright Act or DMCA.
The court case against Google started in 2007, when media giant Viacom sued YouTube for copyright infringement. Google had acquired the online video provider the year before.
Viacom accused YouTube of doing little or nothing to prevent users from posting clips of popular TV shows such as Spongebob Squarepants and South Park, claiming some 160,000 of these had been viewed over 1.5 billion times.
Slamming the alleged copyright violations as brazen, Viacom asked for a billion dollars in damages. In 2010, Viacom lost its case against Google as a United States court found the latter had acted within the provisions of the DMCA and therefore was protected from being sued.
However, last year, Viacom managed to revive the court case as a judge found that a "reasonable jury" could find that YouTube knew about the copyright infringement on its site.
That case ended last Friday however, with a judge once again ruling that Google had followed the DMCA and therefore, was protected from legal consequences arising from potentially infringing activities by YouTube users.
Google's senior legal counsel Kent Walker hailed the decision as an "important day for the internet" saying the DMCA worked as intended.
"This is a win not just for YouTube, but for the billions of people worldwide who depend on the web to freely exchange ideas and information," Walker wrote on Google's YouTube blog.
Meanwhile, well-known author and digital rights activist Cory Doctorow experienced a different side to the DMCA as his latest book Homeland was being targeted by Hollywood studio 20th Century Fox with take-down notices.
Torrentfreak reports that 20th Century Fox, which produced the TV series Homeland, had been sending take-down notices to Google about Doctorow's book and that these had been complied with.
Doctorow, who licensed his book under Creative Commons so that it could be distributed freely, was reportedly angered by the decision and called for immedate action against the Hollywood studio and its owner, media magnate Rupert Murdoch.
“I think you can safely say I’m incandescent with rage. Bring me the severed head of Rupert Murdoch!” Doctorow told Torrentfreak.
Earlier this year, Torrentfreak discovered that Doctorow's publisher Tor Books had sent out DMCA notices itself. This was done, according to Doctorow, to prevent an earlier book he had written from being republished with digital rights management being added without authorisation.