Google-Viacom spat goes old-media


Google and Viacom are taking their fight over digital media rights to an unusual place--print media.


Viacom started it off with an op-ed piece in the Washington Post last Saturday that accused the search engine and its YouTube division of profiting from the technology and innovation of others.

"Google and YouTube wouldn't be here if not for investment in software and technologies spurred by patent and copyright laws. It's time they respected them," wrote Viacom general counsel Michael Fricklas.

Google's managing counsel retaliated with a letter to the editor published Thursday that accused Viacom of "attempting to rewrite established copyright law through a baseless lawsuit."

"Fortunately, the law is clear, and on our side," wrote attorney Michael Kwun.

Blog community response:

"His choice of language makes it sound as if the two parties involved are really wearing their battle gear, and you can only imagine the screaming and biting that went on in the background negotiations before Viacom started to sue!"
--Google Blogoscoped

"Google's best point: If Viacom screwed up in figuring out which videos YouTube needed to remove, how the hell did it expect Google to do it, and why are they suing Google for not doing something they couldn't get right, something that the law they drafted says is Viacom's responsibility. Great read, and great job fighting back. I would love to see Viacom try to beat this arguement in court."
--Inside Google

"The real outcome will be finding out if Google really feels strongly enough about copyright provisions regarding online content that they will fight for a decision in their favor."

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