Viacom has already made itself unpopular with the free speech crowd by telling YouTube to remove 100,000 clips from its servers. As the Electronic Frontier Foundation and others have complained, that has led to many non-infringing videos being removed by mistake (see the EFF video below, which you can also view on YouTube here.)
So imagine the angst that will be caused by Viacom’s latest salvo: a $1bn lawsuit and a request for an injunction that would bar YouTube from posting any of its copyrighted material in the first place. The collateral damage could be huge.
There’s no way that YouTube can guarantee to keep Viacom material off its site. As we reported at the start of this year, a promised technical fix to prevent copyright video from being uploaded has not materialised. So the only way to meet the terms of an injunction would be to close the site down completely. Surely no US court would order such a thing?