Viacom and Google went head to head this week in a US court, as the parent company of MTV and Comedy Central sued Google and YouTube for "massive intentional copyright infringement."

The case begs the question: Who are you rooting for?

Or. rather, is anyone out there rooting for Viacom?

After enjoying an evening of watching Tiny Tim's debut performance of Tiptoe Through the Tulips this week on the Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In circa 1970, the Monty Python "Dead Parrot" routine, followed by a performance of the same by Nigerian scammers, and finally, a video of a real life urban ninja scaling buildings, leaping from rooftops (Really!), I can only hope that YouTube remains exactly what it is for as long as possible.

I don't own a television. Oh, but I do enjoy peering through that fascinating little box that comes up on my computer screen, YouTube and downloading on whim my mind's latest, got-to-have, got-to-see, got-to know.

And what could be more fun than watching your 5-year-old in the year 2007 do a Tiny Tim imitation from a 1970s performance?

For this writer, not much. But there has been a little "too good to be true" feeling about the whole thing. A kind of wild, wild west of TV and entertainment is in the atmosphere of YouTube, a world too free and fun to be left alone for long.

In its complaint, filed with the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, Viacom accused YouTube of a "brazen disregard" for the law. "YouTube has harnessed technology to willfully infringe on copyrights on a huge scale, depriving writers, composers and performers of the rewards they are owed."

That doesn't sound good.

The New York Times reports that Google responded on Tuesday, issuing a statement saying it was undaunted by the lawsuit and "confident that YouTube has respected the legal rights of copyright holders. It added, "We will certainly not let this suit become a distraction to the continuing growth and strong performance of YouTube."

Viacom is asking for more than $1 billion in damages.

Given that Viacom is responsible for the Daily Show and bringing us Jon Stewart, I guess I have to root for them a little. But, really what I want to say is, gosh guys, you're both wonderful. In your ways. So, do us a favour, please.
Resolve your differences. And let us always have free access to information.
Youtube is an eye on the world. In a North America where freedom of the press has been severely limited, we need that eye wide open.


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