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Google, Viacom settle (finally) on YouTube lawsuit

The seven-year-old lawsuit was over copyright on YouTube content

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Google and Viacom have settled a 2007 lawsuit in which Viacom originally demanded US$1 billion from Google for what it said was massive copyright infringement on YouTube.

Viacom was upset that thousands of clips from its TV shows had been uploaded to the video-sharing service without its permission, and it demanded that Google pay up.

The settlement comes almost seven years to the day since the lawsuit was first filed.

At that time, on March 13, 2007, the Internet was still wrestling with issues surrounding mass piracy of video through services like BitTorrent. Meanwhile, legal streaming service Hulu had only just been formed and hadn't started serving up video, and Netflix would only send DVDs through the mail.

The lawsuit was seen as a major challenge from the content industry to YouTube, which had been owned by Google for only a few months.

As with so many of the turf battles that continue to shape the Internet, what seemed like a big deal a few years ago is already ancient history and some wonder why it was ever a big deal in the first place.

That certainly seems to be the message from Viacom and Google, which announced their settlement in a brief statement that noted how they are increasingly working together.

"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," the statement said.

Martyn Williams covers mobile telecoms, Silicon Valley and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is martyn_williams@idg.com



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