Last month YouTube won a billion-dollar copyright infringement case, in which they were being sued by Viacom, but just because they won doesn’t mean they didn’t lose massive amounts of money as a result of the lawsuit. In an Google investor relations call yesterday, Google CFO Patrick Pichette revealed that the battle with Viacom cost Google and YouTube $100 million in legal fees since it began in 2007.
If you weren’t following the $1 billion Viacom-YouTube dispute, here’s a little bit of background for you. Viacom accused YouTube’s owner Google of “massive intentional copyright infringement” on their site, due to the fact that many users upload videos that include copyrighted materials. After years of negotiations, and a lot of money spent, the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York threw the case out on June 23 of this year. After all, YouTube is not intentionally infringing upon copyright laws. They cannot control the content that is uploaded by their users and do everything in their power to take down videos that break copyright law as soon as they are discovered.
YouTube posted about their victory on the YouTube blog:
“This is an important victory not just for us, but also for billions of people around the world who use the web to communicate and share experiences with each other. We’re excited about this decision and look forward to renewing our focus on supporting the incredible variety of ideas and expression that billions of people post and watch on YouTube every day around the world.”
$100 million later, Google and YouTube are grinning smugly. However, the battle may not be over. According to NewTeeVee, Viacom made the following statement back in June when the verdict was announced:
“We believe that this ruling by the lower court is fundamentally flawed and contrary to the language of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act…We intend to seek to have these issues before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit as soon as possible.”
Now $100 million isn’t much money if you think in terms of the $1 billion that Google could have lost, had Viacom won the lawsuit. However, it is still pretty substantial in terms of the company’s revenue. According to The Examiner, in the conference call yesterday it was also reported that although “earnings rose by 24 percent in the second quarter…it still did not meet analysts goals. Google stock fell $19.56 percent, or about 4 percent.” YouTube put up a strong fight against Viacom, but in the end they still received a $100 million blow. What do you think about the way the lawsuit was resolved, and the amount of money that Google and YouTube lost?