YouTube, Viacom, and Privacy

No one loves YouTube more than I do but Viacom is correct, YouTube has built a successful business allowing Internet users to download and share content that is copyrited.

I don’t think the model is totally relient on that content becasue today’s generation of web users create more than 90% of this content and web fans love it. The numbers however show that viewers watched copyrighted content more times than the amateur content.

The video-sharing site YouTube will be allowed to mask the identities of individual users when it provides viewership records to Viacom and other copyright holders behind a $1 billion copyright-infringement lawsuit.

YouTube disclosed late Monday that it would substitute user IDs, Internet addresses and other identifiers before submitting the database to Viacom as required under a July 1 court order widely criticized by privacy activists.

“We remain committed to protecting your privacy and we’ll continue to fight for your right to share and broadcast your work on YouTube,” the company said in a blog posting.

Viacom is seeking at least $1 billion in damages from YouTube’s owner, Google, saying YouTube has built a business by using the Internet to “willfully infringe” copyrights on Viacom shows, which include Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” and Nickelodeon’s “SpongeBob SquarePants” cartoon.

U.S. District Judge Louis L. Stanton had dismissed privacy concerns as speculative in authorizing full access to the YouTube logs after Viacom and other plaintiffs argued that they need the data to show whether their copyright-protected videos are more heavily watched than amateur clips.

In honor of the ruling here is a sample of Jon Stewart on the Daily Show.