updated 05:35 pm EDT, Tue July 15, 2008
Google Viacom agreement
Google, Viacom, and the Football Association of England have all reached an agreement after the latter two firms brought charges of copyright infringement to the video-based social networking site YouTube. Reuters reveals that while the service normally specializes in user-created content, YouTube also hosts many segmented commercial productions, despite the action being against its End-User License Agreement.
As part of the agreement, Google is required to hand over all information regarding copyrighted materials, but will not give any definitive user data which could be used to identify offenders.
The allowance comes in response to consumer privacy activists from the Electronic Frontier Foundation saying that the order "threatens to expose deeply private information," since Viacom and others would have access to thousands of users' personal information, giving them a carte blanche to pursue these individuals.
Viacom asserts that it has no interest in reaching the people in question, but rather it just wishes to research patterns amounting to users uploading copyrighted material.
The firms have not resolved the issue on how to handle YouTube and Google employee viewership data, since the information was to be handed over with the anonymous user data. Google representative Ricardo Reyes notes that the issue requires attention, since any actions put forth by the plaintiffs regarding viewership habits of Google employees could also apply to Viacom and others involved in the suit.