YouTube Needs To Grow A Spine

Jul 5th, 2008 | By | Category: General, Internet TV, Podcasting Law, Streaming Video, Video

YouTube has responded to a federal court order requiring the company, as part of Viacom’s billion dollar lawsuit, to give Viacom copies of YouTube’s server log files.

These log files are needed by Viacom to help it determine the extent to which YouTube has been used to distribute copyrighted content without permission.

However, Viacom doesn’t need the IP address or user IDs of the people accessing videos in order to make its case. IP addresses and user IDs could be used by Viacom to pursue lawsuits against individuals sharing or viewing copyrighted videos, just as the RIAA has sued individual file-sharers.

Viacom should be able to make its case using anonymized logs, which have the IP address & user IDs removed.

YouTube Needs To Grow A Spine

Instead making a definitive statement that it will only share anonymized data, though, YouTube has responded to the court order with a spineless response that lets you know that they are either unable to articulate what they think is right and wrong, or they are just willing to sell you out:

“As you may have seen in the news, YouTube received a court order to produce viewing data from our database, including usernames and IP addresses. In order to protect our community’s privacy, we strongly opposed this motion when Viacom and others filed it.

The court felt differently and ordered us to produce the data. Viacom said that they need general viewing information to determine the proportion of views on YouTube of copyright infringing content vs. non-infringing content.

Of course, we have to follow legal process.”

Of course, YouTube needs to follow legal process. But they should also unequivocally state that they will defend your right to privacy, even if that means taking this all the way to the Supreme Court.

Your library shouldn’t share what books you read. Your video store shouldn’t share what movies you rent. Your phone company shouldn’t spy on you without due process.

And YouTube shouldn’t share your personal viewing information, for any reason, ever.

Image: zombizi

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