free html hit counter Google-Viacom Suit Gets Interesting | John Battelle's Search Blog

Google-Viacom Suit Gets Interesting

By - July 04, 2008

The ruling yesterday on the merits of Viacom’s data requests is worthy of review. Ars has more here. I am preparing for a vacation and can’t elaborate, but trust me on this one…

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

3 thoughts on “Google-Viacom Suit Gets Interesting

  1. I heard about this. One of the biggest things about it that bothers people is that Viacom is going to collect records about what YouTube users WATCH. Why do they need that information?

  2. JG says:

    Angela: Google already collects records about what YouTube users watch. If you’re afraid of the former, why are you unbothered by the latter?

    In principle, however, I agree with you that Viacom doesn’t actually need to know specifics about the people themselves. Anonymized data would be fine. But the reason why Viacom would need at least an anonymized UID is so they can obtain the proper statistics on how widespread across the user population the viewing of copyrighted materials is.

    Suppose for example that 90% of the views on YouTube are of copyrighted material. Well, if that 90% is attributed to only 5% of all users (the “Power Viewers”), then the problem isn’t actually widespread.

    But if Viacom can show that 90% of the material that every single YouTube user views is copyrighted material, then they have a much stronger case.

    So Viacom does need a unique identifier attached to each view. It just does not need a personally-identifiable unique identifier. The data could/should be anonymized.

    However, let me again point out to you: Google itself already has this information. Google knows what you watch.