After Viacom lost its copyright infringement suit against YouTube, the burden of proof has shifted for copyright holders in the online world. Judge Louis Stanton’s decision in the case now means that copyright holders, not internet service providers, must find and report infringing activity, however burdensome that may be.
That’s according to panelists who had gathered Friday at the American Bar Association’s annual conference to discuss the impact of the case. According to Stanton’s interpretation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, it’s not enough for copyright holders to just report general information about alleged infringement to a site such as YouTube, panelists said. They must report specific web site addresses where the infringing material can be found.
“For companies like Viacom, that presents a significant challenge,” said Marc Greenberg, a professor at Golden Gate University School of Law. “They have thousands and thousands of hours of programming, and tens of thousands of infringing uploads. And this presents a logistical nightmare for a company like YouTube.”
But the debate is far from over, panelists agreed. Viacom has vowed to appeal the ruling, and the exact responsibilities of copyright owners and sites such as YouTube will continue to be clarified as the case makes its way through the courts.