Viacom Has Settled Its Copyright Lawsuit Against YouTube

By 03/18/2014
Viacom Has Settled Its Copyright Lawsuit Against YouTube

Seven years after it first sued YouTube, Viacom has finally resolved its feud. According to multiple sources, the major media company has settled its dispute with the world’s largest video sharing site, ending a lawsuit that initially sought more than $1 billion in damages.

Viacom initially sued YouTube over clips of shows like The Daily Show, Spongebob Squarepants, and South Park, which were (and, to a lesser degree, still are) routinely disseminated on the site. Viacom claimed that this “massive intentional copyright infringement of Viacom’s entertainment properties” led to more than 1.5 billion views.

According to sources familiar with the settlement, no money changed hands as part of the exchange; instead the two companies have committed to furthering their relationship. “Google and Viacom today jointly announced the resolution of the Viacom vs. YouTube copyright litigation,” said a joint statement released by both companies. “This settlement reflects the growing collaborative dialogue between our two companies on important opportunities, and we look forward to working more closely together.”

This is the third (and, by all indications, final) time Viacom’s suit has been resolved. Judge Louis Staunton ruled in favor of YouTube in 2010 and again in 2013 (after Viacom appealed the initial decision). Staunton’s decision cited the “safe harbor” provision, which protects platforms like YouTube as long as they comply with copyright takedown notices in a timely manner.

Viacom’s Paramount film studio has distributed movies on YouTube since 2012. Now that the two companies’ feud is over, look for more partnerships between them in the near future.