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Open Internet

Sticking Up for the DMCA Safe Harbor, Again

Last month, YouTube prevailed in the blockbuster copyright lawsuit filed against it by Viacom.  The court agreed, as we had argued in a brief that we filed with a number of allies, that Viacom's crimped reading of the DMCA section 512 "safe harbor" was inconsistent with the statute and with the intent of Congress.  YouTube qualifies for the safe harbor; ergo, case dismissed.  A big vindication for the safe harbor.

But not necessarily the final word.  For one thing, the case is likely to be appealed.  But in addition, it is not the only case of its kind.  Out west, the Ninth Circuit is hearing the appeal in UMG v. Veoh — a case that raises essentially the same issues, with plaintiffs again seeking to radically pare back the safe harbor provision to exclude a video sharing site.  On Friday, CDT joined EFF and other allies to weigh in, again explaining the rationale and importance of the safe harbor provision.  

Significantly, this case is already at the federal appeals court stage — meaning that it may be this case, not Viacom v. YouTube, that sets the initial precedent at the appeals court level.