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Viacom Wins Right to Cruise YouTube Records

False alarm:
just another LOLcat

Google has been ordered to surrender the data of users that watch YouTube videos, including videos streamed on other websites, to Viacom.

The ruling (pdf) was made by Judge Stanton of the federal court for the Southern District of New York.

YouTube user data now available to Viacom includes usernames, videos viewed and IP addresses, which Viacom can use to identify some individuals through ISPs — making users potentially liable for copyrighted material they consumed, the same way the RIAA pursued peer-to-peer file sharers.

But as Mashable points out, the ruling was made in part because of a recent Google blog post claiming IP addresses do not necessarily constitute as "personally identifiable information."

The Electronic Frontier Foundation protested Judge Stanton's decision. Attorney Kurt Opsahl for the Frontier broke the ruling down and found it violates the Video Privacy Protection Act. He concluded:

The Court's erroneous ruling is a set-back to privacy rights, and will allow Viacom to see what you are watching on YouTube. We urge Viacom to back off this overbroad request and Google to take all steps necessary to challenge this order and protect the rights of its users.

It has been a year since Viacom first served Google with a $1 billion lawsuit over its inability to stop the spread of copyrighted videos on YouTube. Google chided Viacom twice for hurting the internet experience, and users' privacy, in this pursuit.


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