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Questions Unanswered by the Google/Viacom Settlement

Questions Unanswered by the Google/Viacom Settlement

Viacom LogoNews has spread today that Google and Viacom have settled their seven-year-old lawsuit over YouTube. This puts an end to both Viacom’s $1 billion claim against YouTube and at least one awkward family Thanksgiving.

The settlement, without a doubt, was the best thing for both sides. Viacom and YouTube have long enjoyed a cooperative relationship, with Viacom recently striking a deal to rent movies through YouTube and the lawsuit itself had largely stagnated, getting stuck between a lower court that showed strong favor to YouTube’s arguments and an appeals court that seemed to favored Viacom’s.

Rather than wrangle with expensive litigation that had already taken seven years and could have easily taken seven more, it made sense to put the case to rest, especially since YouTube had long since moved on from the practices at issue.

However, with every settlement there is also a missed opportunity. The issues at the heart of the Viacom case don’t cease being relevant now that the case is settled but the opportunity for clarification on the law has ended, at least for now.

So what are the issues at stake? We have to first take a look at the lawsuit and what it was really about.Continue Reading