Judge looking into leaks in Google-Viacom fight

Two CNET stories published in October have prompted a search into where the information came from. A federal judge is expected to hold a meeting Friday to discuss the investigation's progress.

Parties in the Viacom-Google copyright court case plan to meet Friday to discuss an investigation into leaked materials at the heart of two CNET stories from last fall, according to multiple sources.

Judge Louis Stanton is expected to discuss the progress of an investigation into who leaked court documents related to the depositions of Google CEO Eric Schmidt and YouTube managers , revealing that Google knew it was overpaying for the video upload site in 2005 and that YouTube managers were likewise aware that copyright material was being uploaded to the site, according to the sources. It's not clear whether a person or persons involved in the leak will be identified, but the parties--including representatives for a class of plaintiffs suing Google--will meet in the U.S District Court for the Southern District of New York to discuss the matter.

A representative for the court declined to comment on the agenda for the hearing, as did representatives for Viacom, Google, and the class of plaintiffs. The class action suit and the Viacom suit have been running parallel for several years, but the $1 billion Viacom filing has understandably received the bulk of the attention.

A story written by CNET's Greg Sandoval in October revealed that in depositions taken in the long-running case, Google acknowledged it had internally valued YouTube at about $600 million to $700 million while debating whether to purchase the site. But the company decided that it was worth a nearly $1 billion premium to get control of YouTube. The final price tag was $1.7 billion.

A separate story showed for the first time that YouTube managers knew there was copyrighted material on the site uploaded by employees but chose not to remove it. Court documents released a week ago confirmed that , but also showed that Viacom employees were uploading copyright content to the site themselves in hopes of distributing it before an Internet audience.

About the author

    Tom Krazit writes about the ever-expanding world of Google, as the most prominent company on the Internet defends its search juggernaut while expanding into nearly anything it thinks possible. He has previously written about Apple, the traditional PC industry, and chip companies. E-mail Tom.

     

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