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Google and Viacom settle YouTube copyright infringement lawsuit

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Google and Viacom announced a settlement in a massive YouTube copyright infringement lawsuit, wherein the latter had sought more than $1 billion in damages.

The companies have kept the terms of the settlement under wraps, but according to a source familiar with the matter there had been no money involved in the resolution.

“Google and Viacom today jointly announced the resolution of the Viacom vs. YouTube copyright litigation. This settlement reflects the growing collaborative dialogue between our two companies on important opportunities, and we look forward to working more closely together,” Google and Viacom wrote in a joint statement.

New York-based Viacom Inc. filed the suit in 2007, accusing the Google-owned YouTube in using pirated video clips from TV networks such as Comedy Central, MTV and Nickelodeon to attract viewers.

Viacom argued that YouTube profited from illegal clips, while Google argued that it abides by provisions under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and removed unauthorised videos, when notified.

Litigation dragged on for years. Google and YouTube fought the suit and won several victories in federal court. Back in April of 2013, Judge Louis Stanton declared: “The burden of showing that YouTube knew or was aware of the specific infringements of the works in suit cannot be shifted to YouTube to disprove.”

Stanton concluded that, Google and YouTube were protected from Viacom’s copyright claims by “safe harbor” provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The “safe harbor” measure grants immunity to Internet sites if they quickly remove infringing content after they’re notified by a copyright owner.

Google as well as Viacom are yet to elaborate on the details of settlement.