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Jenner & Block recently filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of Viacom, Inc. against YouTube and Google accusing the Internet services with "massive intentional copyright infringement" of Viacom's entertainment properties. The infringement suit seeks more than $1 billion in damages, as well as an injunction prohibiting Google and YouTube from further copyright infringement.
According to the complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, almost 160,000 unauthorized clips of Viacom's programming have been available on YouTube and these clips had been viewed more than 1.5 billion times.
Viacom’s press release announcing the legal action mentioned that YouTube has "built a lucrative business out of exploiting the devotion of fans to others' creative works in order to enrich itself and its corporate parent Google. Their business model, which is based on building traffic and selling advertising off of unlicensed content, is clearly illegal and is in obvious conflict with copyright laws."
The Viacom release concluded: "This behavior stands in stark contrast to the actions of other significant distributors, who have recognized the fair value of entertainment content and have concluded agreements to make content legally available to their customers around the world." To view the entire Viacom press release on the filing of the complaint, please click here.
The Firm’s legal team includes Partners Donald B. Verrilli, Jr. and William M. Hohengarten, as well as Associates Amy L. Tenney, Scott B. Wilkens, Luke C. Platzer, and Sharmila Sohoni.
The lawsuit is the latest in a number of high profile cases handled by the Firm’s Entertainment and New Media Practice. Jenner & Block represented the major movie studios and record companies in the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. v. Grokster, which held that online services can be held liable for copyright infringement.
In addition, Jenner & Block helped negotiate last year one of the largest copyright infringement settlements in history between the Firm's record company clients and Kazaa, one of the world’s most popular online peer-to-peer file-trading networks. The agreement ended years of copyright litigation against Kazaa and resulted in a settlement.