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Media News

Viacom appeals ruling in US YouTube piracy suit

* Viacom files appeal challenging Google, YouTube ruling

* Google will defend the court’s decision

NEW YORK, Dec 3 (Reuters) - Viacom Inc VIAb.N is seeking to overturn its defeat in a landmark $1 billion lawsuit in which the media conglomerate charged Google GOOG.O with "massive" copyright infringement on the search giant's YouTube online video service.

Viacom, which owns cable networks like MTV and Comedy Central as well as Paramount Films, said it filed an appeal on Friday to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in the hopes of giving media companies more ammunition to fight video piracy.

“America’s economic future will be largely built on innovation, information and the growth of trade in intellectual property,” Viacom General Counsel Michael Fricklas wrote in an email. “However, an information-based economy cannot exist if the products and ideas developed are not protected under U.S. law.”

Google said it will defend the decision on appeal. “We regret that Viacom continues to drag out this case,” a Google spokesperson wrote in an email. “The court here, like every other court to have considered the issue, correctly ruled that the law protects online services like YouTube, which remove content when notified by the copyright holder that it is unauthorized.”

In June, a Manhattan federal judge threw out Viacom’s $1 billion suit against Google, which alleged that Viacom content including programming from “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” “South Park,” and “SpongeBob SquarePants” had been illegally uploaded on YouTube and that the defendants knew about it but did nothing to stop the actions. [ID:nN23248542]

In the ruling, U.S. District Judge Louis Stanton said it would be improper to hold Google and YouTube liable under federal copyright law merely for having a “general awareness” that videos might be posted illegally.

The lawsuit went to the heart of perhaps the biggest issue facing media companies in the last decade: how to win Internet viewers without ceding control of TV shows, movies and music.

It was seen as a test of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, a 1998 federal law making it a crime to produce technology to circumvent anti-piracy measures, and limiting liability of online service providers for copyright infringement by users.

The issue has grown more pressing as new devices, such as Apple Inc's AAPL.O Apple TV, Google TV, Microsoft's MSFT.O Xbox and services like Netflix NFLX.O try to bring TV shows and movies from the Internet to people's TV sets.

Reporting by Jennifer Saba; Editing by David Gregorio

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