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YouTube and Viacom settle copyright fight

March 18, 2014

youtubeGoogle and Viacom have settled a long-running legal battle over copyrighted material on YouTube. The out-of-court settlement brings to an end a dispute that began in 2007.

Viacom had sought $1 billion in damages from Google. The companies said: “This settlement reflects the growing collaborative dialogue between our two companies on important opportunities, and we look forward to working more closely together.”

The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but reports suggest no money has changed hands. Last April, a New York judge in rejected Viacom’s damages claim, but the company launched an appeal.

Viacom complained was that shows had been uploaded to YouTube without authorisation, and subsequently viewed hundreds of thousands of times. Google said it had followed the law set out by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which states that a host site – such as YouTube – cannot be held accountable for the material uploaded by its users, provided it acted to remove content when asked by the copyright holder.

YouTube has fought with content owners regarding copyrighted clips being uploaded and viewed for free. It has settled many of those disputes thanks to its shared revenue model – in which advertising is displayed alongside copyrighted content with a share going to both Google and the copyright holder.

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