Viacom Attempts to Revive $1B Lawsuit Vs. YouTube

U.K. soccer league also appealing decision

Media giant Viacom is trying to revive its $1 billion lawsuit against Google’s YouTube, which accused the video streaming site of intentionally breaking the law by allowing its users to post TV shows, movies, and other copyrighted material.

The original lawsuit, brought in 2007, claimed that YouTube violated copyright laws between 2005 and 2008 by allowing Viacom content like “The Daily Show” and “Spongebob Squarepants” to appear on its site.

In June 2010, a district court judge ruled against Viacom, saying that YouTube was protected under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act because it had removed the offending videos as soon as it was notified. The judge believed that YouTube couldn’t be held responsible for having a “general awareness” of its users illegally posting videos.

Yesterday, a Viacom lawyer claimed to an appeals court that “the judge didn't understand the law” and that last year’s ruling was “both practically and legally indefensible.” So far, the three judges on the appeals panel haven’t made an official ruling.

Meanwhile, the U.K.’s Football Association Premier League is attempting to appeal its own failed 2007 lawsuit against YouTube. A lawyer for the league said yesterday in court that its copyrighted material was made available by YouTube “deliberately to get eyeballs,” adding that the site “assessed the value of it and decided not to take a license out for it.”