Monday, August 05, 2013

Copyright Fisticuffs

Viacom has lost a couple of fights with YouTube over copyright violations. But now it has extra assistance.

Viacom’s latest attempt to revive its billion-dollar copyright suit against YouTube has just gotten some very vocal new friends.

“YouTube’s role in the rampant, systematic distribution of content in violation of the exclusive rights of copyrightholders caused and continues to cause harm to the entertainment industries and the members of the Guilds and Unions working in those industries. We urge the Court to consider the full ramifications of YouTube’s actions, and request that the Court reverse the lower court’s decision,” said a joint brief filed late last week by lawyers for the Directors Guild of America, SAG-AFTRA, IATSE and the American Federation of Musicians.

Filed on August 2, the quartet’s 28-page brief (read it here) comes after Viacom filed materials on July 30 with the 2nd Court of Appeals asking for a new judge in the long running case. That expected legal move against Judge Louis Stanton followed the NY-based U.S. District court judge granting YouTube yet another favorable summary judgment in the matter on April 18 this year. ...

[Judge Louis] Stanton had his original decision vacated by the 2nd Circuit in April 2012 after the higher court decided that YouTube had in fact known it was infringing Viacom’s copyrights with clips of The Daily Show, South Park and other material that were posted on the video-sharing site. ...

The entertainment unions (of which TAG is one) are extra concerned about things like film piracy and copyright theft since there's this sixty-two-year-old money spigot called residuals that have underpinned SAG, WGA and the rest of Hollywood labor since the first residual deal was negotiated by a well-known Hollywood leftie:

... [Reagan] was patient, persistent, moderate, and above all good-humored, even at three in the morning, going back into cucus to review the same ground yet again. ...

In the end, SAG won what the membership desperately needed. In one negotiation, we established pension and medical plans funded by the studios, as well as fees to be paid to actors when their work was rerun on TV. It broke new ground in labor negotiation, setting models sought by other labor unions to this day. ...

-- Charlton Heston, In the Arena

Decades later, unions strive to hang onto what they won in 1960. Which explains why all of them back Viacom's lawsuit against Google. If there's no licensing fees from copyright, no cash flow, pension and health plans get starved. Along with the actors.

2 comments:

Diablo said...

The major reason I love youtube is that it allows me to view material that is so obscure and arcane is not available anywhere else.The only force behind Viacom lawsuit is greed. Are the actors and writers gonna get a dime even if this lawsuit goes in favor of Viacom? Not a chance in hell. Does this mean I approve of piracy...Not at all, but material that was broadcast on mayor networks for free for the last six to seven decades should be available to us who were not there back in the forties or fifties. Some of this rare material is available simply because some viewers had the presence of mind to archive this material when it was being broadcast, and only now are able to share it. Otherwise, most of this material would be lost. I'm not referring to things like "I love Lucy" episodes, but to material which is not available elsewhere, in any format.

Christopher Sobieniak said...

It's also apparent when it is something that is very obscure nobody cares to do much with it unless they really stuck their foot into it (say, Terrytoons).

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