Google, Viacom Settle Copyright Infringement Case

After seven years of litigation, Google and Viacom have settled the YouTube copyright lawsuit.


Google and Viacom have settled their seven-year legal battle. The terms of the settlement are undisclosed. The case was brought by Viacom, which alleged that YouTube was engaged in “brazen” copyright infringement by allowing users to upload content to the site. In 2010, YouTube was granted safe harbor under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and the judgement has been appealed, reversed and now, settled.

Regarding the resolution of this lengthy litigation between them, the two companies made the following statement:

“Google and Viacom today jointly announced the resolution of the Viacom vs. YouTube copyright litigation. This settlement reflects the growing collaborative dialogue between our two companies on important opportunities, and we look forward to working more closely together.”

For the old-guard media, user-generated content has often amounted to piracy. The battle wasn’t just about copyright but controlling how consumers interacted with their entertainment. Hopefully this settlement is the beginning of a symbiotic relationship between Viacom and Google.

According to Colombia Law School lecturer and intellectual property specialist, June Besek, both companies need each other.

“Content providers and service providers are finding it more constructive to work together rather than litigate,” Besek told Reuters. “Content providers need a Google to filter material, and Google needs content to attract people to its websites.”