YouTube Ruling: Dead Wrong

Viacom sues YouTube over copyright infringement claims. Viacom demands that YouTube dump data about their users to help Viacom prove their case. The court upholds Viacom’s request.

NEW YORK/SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – A U.S. judge’s order to Google Inc to turn over YouTube user data to Viacom Inc sparked an outcry on Thursday from privacy advocates in the midst of a legal showdown over video piracy.

Viacom, owner of movie studio Paramount and MTV Networks, requested the information as part of its $1 billion copyright infringement lawsuit against the popular online video service and its deep-pocketed parent, Google.

Judge Louis Stanton of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York ordered Google on Tuesday to turn over as evidence a database with usernames of YouTube viewers, what videos they watched when, and users’ computer addresses.

This bothers me to my core. But hey, Viacom is going to keep it on the up and up. They pinky swear.

Viacom responded in a statement that it needs the data to demonstrate video piracy patterns that are the heart of its case against YouTube. But it sought to diffuse privacy fears, saying it had no interest in identifying individual users.

“Viacom has not asked for and will not be obtaining any personally identifiable information of any user,” Viacom said.

“Any information that we or our outside advisors obtain … will be used exclusively for the purpose of proving our case against YouTube and Google (and) will be handled subject to a court protective order and in a highly confidential manner.”

The ways this is wrong makes my head spin.