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Ahead of the Bell: Lawyers to argue YouTube suit

October 18, 2011

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NEW YORK—Viacom will try to persuade a federal appeals court Tuesday that Google should be liable for tens of thousands of pirated video clips appearing on its video site, YouTube.

A lower court in New York last year sided with Google Inc., saying that the company can't be held responsible for the actions of its users under a 1998 copyright law. That law, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, protects online service providers as long as they promptly remove copyright-protected content after being notified of a violation.

Viacom Inc., which owns cable channels such as MTV and Comedy Central, has contended that Google doesn't fall under the law's "safe harbor" provision because YouTube's founders welcomed the piracy as a way of expanding its audience. It wants to revive a lawsuit seeking more than $1 billion in damages.

Both sides will make their cases Tuesday before the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York. Oral arguments are scheduled to begin at 10 a.m.