Viacom’s demand that Google remove over 100,000 video clips of its copyrighted shows be removed from YouTube is reasonable enough, on the face of it. Yes, the clips are effectively promoting the actual shows, and if Viacom hasn’t grasped that yet, it’s clearly struggling with this Web 2.0 lark. But that’s up to the suits at Viacom.
YouTube has always been clear about the fact that if alerted to copyrighted content and asked to take it down, it will. But what’s worrying is if some of those 100,000 video clips DON’T belong to Viacom. And that’s seemingly what’s happened:
“I just received a notice that a video of mine has been removed from YouTube because of a complaint by Viacom,” writes one YouTuber. “The video, for the record, is a short home clip, about 30 seconds, of me and several friends having dinner in a ribs place in Somerville. That this is the case should not be confusing to Viacom, given that the video is titled: Sunday nite dinner at Redbones in Somerville, Mass.”
The blogger is already talking about a class action against Viacom, although it’s way too early to judge if such a case has legs. But it’s a worrying development. Is the answer for Google to check every one of those 100,000 videos individually before taking them down? Or should the onus be on Viacom to prove that every video it wants removed really is infringing copyright?