Mixed news for YouTube in its billion-dollar copyright infringement suit with Viacom: Google (GOOG) will not have to turn over YouTube’s source code to Viacom, U.S. District Judge Louis L. Stanton ruled. But Stanton granted Viacom’s (VIAB) request for records of every video ever watched by YouTube viewers, including their login name and and IP address, CNET reports.
At TechCrunch, Michael Arrington argues that Stanton is a “moron” who got everything backwards:
I can understand why Judge Stanton, who graduated from law school in 1955, may be completely and utterly clueless when it comes to online videos [sic] services. But perhaps one of his bright young clerks or interns could have told him that (1) handing over user names and a list of videos they’ve watched to a highly litigious copyright holder is extremely likely to result in lawsuits against those users that have watched copyrighted content on YouTube, and (2) YouTube’s source code is about as valuable as the hard drive it would be delivered on, since the core Flash technology is owned by Adobe and there are countless YouTube clones out there, most of which offer higher quality video.
We agree with Arrington’s basic point — that it’s a bad idea for YouTube’s user data to be released — to Viacom or to anyone. (Though we’re not sure Viacom is “extremely likely” to sue its fans.) But we think he is way off with his comments about Google’s intellectual property. Viacom wasn’t just looking for the HTML source of YouTube’s pages, or Adobe (ADBE) Flash details, but much more proprietary code that “controls the YouTube.com search function and Google.com’s Internet search tool,” according to the WSJ. That’s worth a lot more than a hard drive.
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