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For Immediate Release
Background: Viacom filed a $1 billion lawsuit against Google and YouTube for alleged copyright infringement. The following statement is attributed to Gigi B. Sohn, president of Public Knowledge:
Without commenting on the specific allegations involved, we note that simply because material is "unauthorized" does not make its use illegal. There are limitations to copyright law, known as fair use, that do not require the copyright owner's permission before use of a work. Many of the users of YouTube who have posted short clips of main-stream media's works have done so using their fair use rights, for reasons of criticism, comment, education, and news reporting.
We are confident YouTube and Google will continue to take appropriate actions in accordance with the safe-harbor provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). By a previous request of Viacom, YouTube has already removed some 100,000 clips.
A copy of the complaint is here (PDF).
Public Knowledge is a public-interest advocacy and education organization that seeks to promote a balanced approach to intellectual property law and technology policy that reflects the "cultural bargain" intended by the framers of the constitution. More information available at: http://www.publicknowledge.org