Viacom - "They uploaded illegal content!"
Youtube - "Oh yeah? Well so did THEY!"
Kids, take it outside.
AdAGe really dishes the dirt in their most recent update on the Youtube-Viacom deathmatch: "YouTube Says Viacom Agents Secretly Uploaded Video, Then Lawyers Sued"
YouTube co-founders Chad Hurley, Steve Chen and Jawed Karim were in a race early on to build traffic at the site in hopes of getting acquired, and knew full well that illegally uploaded TV clips might help.
"It's all 'bout da videos, yo. We'll be an excellent acquisition target once we're huge," Mr. Karim wrote in a 2005 e-mail to Mr. Chen and Mr. Hurley.
But they also knew about the dangers. As Mr. Chen wrote to Mr. Karim: "Jawed, please stop putting stolen videos on the site. We're going to have a tough time defending the fact that we're not liable for copyrighted material on the site ... when one of the founders is blatantly stealing content from other sites."
Youtube claims that Viacom was seeding their own copyrighted content under different user names to build a case against youtube. Meanwhile, as the years pass on, Youtube and Viacom have become quite good chums these days. Could we get a move on with this case, please?
The opening brief in the Viacom vs. YouTube can be read in PDF form here, download away.