Apparently Florida isn’t the only state where people lacking in customer service like to sue their customers when they complain. T&J Towing decided to sue a Western Michigan University student who started a Kalamazoo Residents against T&J Towing Facebook page. The student asserts that nothing he said was untrue, but the towing company is still suing for $75,000. This lawsuit is nothing more than an attempt to shut down free speech. I’ll let Cooley Law Professor Curt Benson summarize the towing company’s case:
“So frankly, he’s got an awfully hard lawsuit to win here and frankly, I get the impression it’s more like him sending a message to the community, ‘don’t say anything negative against me because I’ll file a lawsuit against you.’”
Maybe I should start a Facebook Group called ‘Jerks who File SLAPP Suits’. I wonder if that would be considered defamation?
As a follow up to my Viacom v. YouTube post in which I discussed how Google was in the right and how I hoped it would prevail in its copyright infringement suit, now I’m not so sure. Viacom has released some more information that makes me think that Google may not be as innocent as I had originally believed. It made public Google’s analysis of YouTube when Google Video was a competitor of YouTube. Below are three of the statements included in the analysis:
* “YouTube’s business model is completely sustained by pirated content.”
* “YouTube’s content is all free, and much of it is highly sought after pirated clips.”
* “[W]e should beat YouTube by improving features and user experience, not being a ‘rogue enabler’ of content theft.”
That doesn’t sound good. It purchased a company that it knew was built and sustained by piracy. Viacom also disclosed bullet points from a slide that Google created to determine how to handle companies like Viacom. The most interesting of which is “Set up ‘play first, deal later’ around ‘hot content.’” Basically Google is saying that its strategy for dealing with pirated content is to put it on its site first and deal with any consequences later. Well, the consequences may be… (*puts pinky finger on edge of my mouth) ONE BILLION DOLLARS!
I think it would be a good business decision for movie and TV studios to allow their videos to appear on YouTube. But it should be their decision. If a company like YouTube purposefully seeks out to obtain and display content that it does not have rights to show, it should face consequences. Google’s analysis of YouTube shows that it understood that YouTube was popular because it had pirated content, yet Google still bought it. The Google slide clearly demonstrates that Google itself wasn’t worried about violating the rights of copyright holders. Now Google has definitely changed its ways. It has an incredibly sophisticated content detection system that allows it to notify copyright holders when their videos appear on YouTube. Apparently though, Google wasn’t always as diligent in preventing pirated videos from appearing on its site. And by not as diligent I mean it actively sought out and displayed pirated videos.
h/t Ben Sheffner for the Google vs Viacom articles.
Have a Good Weekend.