A New York court has again rejected claims that YouTube should be held accountable for unauthorized videos that appeared on the site during its early years of operation.
In the latest twist in a long and closely-watched copyright case brought by Viacom, US District Judge Louis Stanton granted summary judgment to YouTube after finding executives at the video site did not have “red flag” knowledge that made them liable for content uploaded by users.
The ruling comes one year after the Second Court of Appeals reversed Stanton’s earlier decision to dismiss the case, and ordered the judge to revisit his ruling in light of emails that suggested the YouTube founders had knowledge of copyright infringement.
On its surface, the case turned on whether YouTube had to pay damages to Viacom for thousands of unauthorized clips of shows like South Park and Seinfeld that appeared on the site. But on a deeper level, the case has gained significance because it is helping to determine what digital technology companies must do to protect copyright.
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