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Second Circuit Addresses DMCA Safeharbor in Landmark Case

A new Second Circuit decision could change the way some service providers conduct business on the internet, imposing a greater burden to assess specific infringing activity.

In Viacom v. YouTube, Viacom sought $1 billion in damages for direct and secondary copyright infringement based on claims that its users improperly uploaded thousands of Viacom’s videos. The district previously held that YouTube was protected against claims of copyright infringement under the DMCA safe harbor primarily because it had insufficient notice of the particular infringement at issue. Essentially, it held that under the DMCA, service providers did not have a responsibility to identify which of its users’ postings infringed a copyright.

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