|FROM ||Ruben Safir
|SUBJECT ||Subject: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] Might be time for a visit to Congress again
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Date: Sat, 5 Jul 2008 00:12:54 -0400
From: Ruben Safir
Subject: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] Might be time for a visit to Congress again
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This is not acceptable...and needs to stop....
YouTube Ordered To Release User Data Viacom Had Sought Access to Database
In Copyright Battle
By Ellen Nakashima Washington Post Staff Writer Friday, July 4, 2008; D01
A federal judge in New York this week ordered the video-sharing site
YouTube, the world's third-most-visited Web site, to release data on
the viewing habits of its tens of millions of worldwide viewers.
Tuesday's ruling, which amounted to only seven paragraphs in a 25-page
opinion that was mostly about programming code and other matters, alarmed
privacy advocates, who said it ignored laws meant to protect peoples'
The order comes as part of a $1 billion copyright infringement lawsuit
brought against YouTube's owner, Google, by Viacom, the media company
that owns large cable networks such as MTV, VH1 and Nickelodeon. Viacom
alleges that YouTube encourages people to upload significant amounts
of pirated copyrighted programs and that users do so by the thousands,
profiting YouTube and Google. It wants to prove that pirated videos
uploaded to the site -- video clips of Jon Stewart's "The Daily Show,"
for instance -- are more heavily viewed than amateur content.
On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Louis L. Stanton granted Viacom's request
that YouTube release its 12-terabyte "logging" database -- a database
that is larger than the Library of Congress's collection of about 10
million books, to Viacom. Every minute, 13 hours of video are uploaded
to YouTube servers. The site logs hundreds of millions of views a week.
The database contains the unique login ID of the viewer, the time he
began watching, the Internet Protocol, or IP, address of the user's
computer and the identification of the video. That database is the only
existing record of how often each video has been viewed during various
time periods, the opinion said. Its data can recreate the number of
views of a video for any particular day.
In ordering the data release, Stanton said that YouTube's privacy
concerns were "speculative," that Google cited "no authority barring
them from disclosing such information in civil discovery proceedings"
and that Google itself has noted that an IP address without additional
information cannot in most cases identify a person.
Privacy advocates said the ruling disregarded the 1988 Video Privacy
Protection Act passed by Congress to protect people's video-viewing habits
from being disclosed. The law says that records may not be turned over
unless the consumer is given the opportunity to object.
"People recognize that what videos you watch is deeply private information
that can tell a lot about you," said Kurt Opsahl, senior staff attorney
for the Electronic Frontier Foundation. "And that might be information
you might not want revealed."
Viacom General Counsel Michael Fricklas said yesterday that Viacom has no
intention of going after individual users. "Even if they uploaded pirated
clips, we're not going to use the data to find them. We're not going to
use it to sue them. We're not going to use it to look at who they are."
Rather, the company has argued, the data could be used to measure the
popularity of copyrighted video against non-copyrighted video.
Yesterday, lawyers for Google said they would not appeal the ruling. They
sent Viacom a letter requesting that the company allow YouTube to redact
user names and IP addresses from the data.
"We are pleased the court put some limits on discovery, including
refusing to allow Viacom to access users' private videos and our
search technology," Google senior litigation counsel Catherine Lacavera
said in a statement. "We are disappointed the court granted Viacom's
overreaching demand for viewing history. We will ask Viacom to respect
users' privacy and allow us to anonymize the logs before producing them
under the court's order."
Fricklas said Viacom is open to the anonymity request and has consulted
with the Electronic Frontier Foundation on possible approaches.
"Any information that we or our outside advisers obtain -- which will not
include personally identifiable information -- will be used exclusively
for the purpose of proving our case against YouTube and Google, and
will be handled subject to a court protective order and in a highly
confidential manner," Fricklas said.
But making the records anonymous is not fail-safe. In 2006, an AOL
researcher inadvertently posted three months' worth of searches typed in
by 650,000 anonymous AOL users. Although their identities were masked --
each user was given a randomly generated unique identification number --
the search terms, which included names, home towns and interests, could
be collated and used to identify a person, as an enterprising New York
Times reporter showed.
The ruling and the response to it underscores the concerns about data
collection and Web surfers' lack of control over the use of their
Jennifer Urban, a law professor at the University of Southern California,
said that even if Viacom does not use the information to sue users,
"a future litigant may not keep the information private."
What videos people view, what books they read, have long been considered
sensitive information, she said, "intensely personal pieces of information
we expect people to be able to keep private."
The lawsuit was paired with a similar suit filed as a class action by
a British soccer league that broadcasts soccer matches internationally.
Staff writer Peter Whoriskey contributed to this report. --
http://www.mrbrklyn.com - Interesting Stuff http://www.nylxs.com -
Leadership Development in Free Software
So many immigrant groups have swept through our town that Brooklyn, like
Atlantis, reaches mythological proportions in the mind of the world -
RI Safir 1998
http://fairuse.nylxs.com DRM is THEFT - We are the STAKEHOLDERS -
RI Safir 2002
"Yeah - I write Free Software...so SUE ME"
"The tremendous problem we face is that we are becoming sharecroppers
to our own cultural heritage -- we need the ability to participate in
our own society."
"> I'm an engineer. I choose the best tool for the job, politics be
damned.< You must be a stupid engineer then, because politcs and
technology have been attached at the hip since the 1st dynasty in
Ancient Egypt. I guess you missed that one."
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