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The Courts

Another Question Of Search Engine Legality and Infringement 95

Another question of search engine "legality" is being addressed with a recent court case in the UK over a video search engine. Techdirt's coverage questions the long-standing tradition of how to evaluate contributory infringement claims for sites like search engines based on the highly subjective "I know it when I see it" test. "Take for example, the situation going on in the UK, where Anton Benjamin Vickerman and his wife Kelly-Anne Vickerman decided to do something that makes a lot of sense: create a search engine for videos online, indexing a variety of different sites. This was as a part of their company Scopelight, and the search engine itself was called Surfthechannel. This is certainly a useful product. But, of course, the search engine's algorithm has no way of knowing if that video has been put up by the copyright holder on purpose or if it's unauthorized. Even more tricky, how does it determine fair use? So, it did the reasonable thing: it includes everything. Lots of the videos are legal. Plenty are potentially unauthorized. Apparently that wasn't good enough for a UK-based anti-piracy group UK-FACT, who had Scopelight's premises raided, claiming the site is illegal, since people can find unauthorized content via it. Of course, you can find unauthorized content on Google as well. But you know who's liable for that? Whoever actually put it online. Not the search engine that pointed you to it."
Google

Google to Viacom - The Law is Clear, and On Our Side 290

An anonymous reader writes "Google responded to the opinion piece in the Washington Post by a Viacom Lawyer with a letter to the editor titled 'An End Run on Copyright Law.' Their strong wording sends a very concrete message: 'Viacom is attempting to rewrite established copyright law through a baseless lawsuit. In February, after negotiations broke down, Viacom requested that YouTube take down more than 100,000 videos. We did so immediately, working through a weekend. Viacom later withdrew some of those requests, apparently realizing that those videos were not infringing, after all. Though Viacom seems unable to determine what constitutes infringing content, its lawyers believe that we should have the responsibility and ability to do it for them. Fortunately, the law is clear, and on our side.'"

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