NBC Universal and Viacom join sides against YouTube in piracy lawsuit

For quite some time, Viacom has been at war with video-sharing site YouTube for enabling users to upload clips belonging to the former’s television networks. In February 2007, the Google-owned website had agreed to take down more than 100,000 videos owned by Viacom. Now the latter and NBC Universal have both asked the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles for permission to file a friends-of-the court brief in support of news reporter Robert Tur.

Back in March, Viacom already filed a lawsuit of $1 billion against Google for allowing copyright violations. This was after both parties failed to agree over any deal that would make Viacom’s content available on YouTube at a viable price. With regards to the latest case, Tur has accused YouTube of copyright infringement for allowing his footage of truck driver Reginald Denny being beaten during the 1992 Los Angeles riots, to circulate repeatedly on the video-sharing site without his consent.

The outcome of Tur’s fight against YouTube is important since it will determine whether Google can crouch behind the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) that protects it from being sued if users upload copyrighted content, reports CNET. As long as it deletes the infringing videos upon being notified by the owners, it is technically safe from facing lawsuits such as the one filed against it by Tur.

Google-YouTube has been promising filtering tools to weed out unauthorized content for a while now. Meanwhile, it has also been striking revenue deals with various companies such as Universal Music Group and CBS to enable their copyright-protected content to appear on the platform. How long will it be before Viacom and NBC Universal are forced to join the game?