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July 8, 2008

Viacom Discovery Request Troubling

The announcement that Viacom got a court to bless its discovery request for YouTube user data was a little troubling for some.  Viacom gets a database of what videos were watched, the IP addresses that access them, and the user names of the viewers, and a copy of every video removed from YouTube.  What Viacom doesn't get is the source code to Google's search function, th source code to YouTube's copyright filter, and a copy of every private video hosted on YouTube.  The data should come to about 12 Terabytes.

The privacy issue flagged concerns that Viacom would start to file infringement suits against individual users as does the RIAA.  The judge apparently limited the use of the evidence to proving liability against Google for copyright infringement and nothing more.  Viacom, perhaps stung by the bad publicity surrounding the request, made a statement that it would protect user privacy by not getting personally identifiable user information from Google.  Rather, Viacom would take annonymized information that would differentiate users.  This may bring some relief to the privacy questions, but it still doesn't sit well given what Viacom wanted to get compared to what they did get as discovery.

July 8, 2008 | Permalink

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