Is YouTube to blame for copyright infringement by its users? Not according to the courts, which ruled in June that Viacom could not go after the site for what its users had posted, but as Viacom files an appeal to that decision, it’s bringing plenty of friends along to back up its case. The Hollywood Reporter has a list of organizations supporting Viacom’s appeal, and it’s more than a little impressive. Amongst others, Viacom is supported by the MPAA, the Independent Film and Television Alliance, the Directors Guild of America, Screen Actors Guild, Microsoft and, surreally, the National Football League.
Will this amassing of opinion mean anything legally? It’s unlikely – Having CBS (formerly a Viacom corporate sibling) warn that the original ruling “threatens to impose substantial negative consequences for all copyright owners who are subject to mass Internet piracy of their works” doesn’t actually mean much, in legal terms, after all. Even the collective opinion of a collection of professors specializing in media law might not hold much weight. But that doesn’t matter to Viacom, because they’re reported to have even more support en route, and from even more unexpected concerned citizens; the Hollywood Reporter promises statements from Don Henly, Sting and Bruce Hornsby before too long. And if there’s one thing the justice system of the United States listens to, it’s middle of the road rock acts.
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