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Viacom secretly stuffed YouTube

Then sued YouTube for copyright infringement

This in from Silicon Valley Insider that Viacom spent more than two years uploading its shows and clips to YouTube using marketing agencies, employees. They even did the uploads from Kinko’s to disguise the IP addresses.  Viacom “roughed up” the videos so they looked bootlegged. Then Viacom sued YouTube for copyright infringement.

“It’s like sending prostitutes to your neighbor’s house then accusing him of running a brothel.”

What’s the point? Viacom needed to promote its show so YouTube is the place to be. YouTube has the audience and Viacom needs an audience for it’s shows.

Believable? Sure is. When Bob Dylan was releasing Together Through Life Columbia let the video out so that people would post it. They needed Bob to get back in the public view to sell CDs. I posted it and kept it on my YouTube channel page for months. More than 120,000 people saw it there. When Columbia started to promote the Bob Dylan Christmas album somebody at Columbia figured that was enough. The hired Web Sheriff to shut the video down and YouTube shut down my channel. The hypocrites are crawling all over the place.  Most popular Bob Dylan video of 2009 shot down

Here’s YouTube:

For years, Viacom continuously and secretly uploaded its content to YouTube, even while publicly complaining about its presence there. It hired no fewer than 18 different marketing agencies to upload its content to the site. It deliberately “roughed up” the videos to make them look stolen or leaked. It opened YouTube accounts using phony email addresses. It even sent employees to Kinko’s to upload clips from computers that couldn’t be traced to Viacom. And in an effort to promote its own shows, as a matter of company policy Viacom routinely left up clips from shows that had been uploaded to YouTube by ordinary users. Executives as high up as the president of Comedy Central and the head of MTV Networks felt “very strongly” that clips from shows like The Daily Show and The Colbert Report should remain on YouTube.

Viacom’s efforts to disguise its promotional use of YouTube worked so well that even its own employees could not keep track of everything it was posting or leaving up on the site. As a result, on countless occasions Viacom demanded the removal of clips that it had uploaded to YouTube, only to return later to sheepishly ask for their reinstatement. In fact, some of the very clips that Viacom is suing us over were actually uploaded by Viacom itself.

Given Viacom’s own actions, there is no way YouTube could ever have known which Viacom content was and was not authorized to be on the site. But Viacom thinks YouTube should somehow have figured it out. The legal rule that Viacom seeks would require YouTube — and every Web platform — to investigate and police all content users upload, and would subject those web sites to crushing liability if they get it wrong.

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