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Viacom Statements

Google Continues to Distort the Record — 5/21/2010

On May 21, 2010, Google provided the following "selective highlights" of their case. These "selective highlights"
are deliberately misleading and distort the actual facts and are easily debunked by the truth:

Google Claim:

By quoting a single internal email by Michael Fricklas, Viacom's General Counsel, Google claims that, at one point, Viacom did not believe YouTube had similarities to Grokster.

The Truth:

The email in question was sent from Viacom's General Counsel to a friend in early 2006, informally remarking that YouTube appeared to be attracting a great deal of traffic from user-generated content. In a matter of months, it became clear to Mr. Fricklas and others that YouTube's behavior was egregiously unlawful.

Google Claim:

Google claims it had no general obligation to monitor the YouTube service for infringement and, as support, states that "Viacom embraced the DMCA for its own video hosting services, until it decided to sue."

The Truth:

What Google doesn't tell you is that the documents in question were created by an online site prior to its acquisition by Viacom. Since that acquisition by Viacom, that site has screened clips for possible infringement, including by applying filtering technology. At the time Viacom acquired it, the site had received fewer than ten takedown notices.

Google Claim:

Google cites a Q&A quoting the creators of South Park to imply that Viacom's position about illegal downloads had shifted over time.

The Truth:

Viacom has always held the position that protection of copyright and the prevention of illegal downloading is of paramount importance. This quote from South Park's creators – in 2003, before YouTube even existed – did not represent Viacom's stance on copyright at that time, or today.

Google Claim:

Google claims it did not acquire YouTube to promote infringement and, as support, claims that "Viacom's top executives were obsessed with buying YouTube."

The Truth:

What Google doesn't tell you is that Viacom's "consideration" of an acquisition was limited in time and scope. No due diligence was performed, no price was determined, and no offer was ever made. Beyond that, it was Google that acquired YouTube – and who continued to run it in an infringing manner.

Google Claim:

Google characterizes Viacom executives and agents as being unable to tell whether a Viacom video on YouTube is authorized.

The Truth:

In the deposition presented by Google, the senior Viacom executive is actually being asked about content that was not owned by Viacom. It is unclear why they would misrepresent it this way. In any event, YouTube would know whether it had a license with Viacom.

Google Claim:

Google claims Viacom's online marketing activities on YouTube were not "known to YouTube" and that the inclusion of such authorized clips prevented YouTube's ability to identify infringing content.

The Truth:

Documents produced in this case establish that YouTube was keenly aware when viral marketing occurred on its site. YouTube even admits (in its briefs and declarations) that it maintained relationships with company marketing departments and the agencies they used, including with Viacom.