Google, Viacom Settle Over $1B YouTube Lawsuit

Google and Viacom settled the $1 billion YouTube lawsuit after seven years of back-and-forth legal battles.
Posted at 3:10 PM, Mar 18, 2014

Viacom and Google have been in legal combat for seven years after the media company sued Google for video-sharing site YouTube. 

Viacom accused the company of willfully infringing copyrights on a "huge scale," suing Google for more than $1 billion in damages. It alleged YouTube users were uploading unauthorized copies of copyrighted content. (Via YouTube)

Engadget provides the rest of the timeline for the ongoing dispute: In 2010, a federal court ruled Google wasn't responsible for its users' copyright infringement. But in 2012 Viacom won an appeal, giving it the opportunity to once again hold Google responsible. 

After another win for Google, not much has happened since — until Tuesday when the companies reached an agreement. In a joint press release, the companies said:

"Google and Viacom today jointly announced the resolution of the Viacom vs. YouTube copyright litigation. ... We look forward to working more closely together." (Via MarketWatch)

Although the terms of the deal haven't been revealed by either company, a source told Re/code "no money traded hands."

Re/code says this is likely because it's the way the Web works. Content distributors don't really get in trouble as long as they don't encourage users to violate copyright and remove content when requested by rights holders.

And a writer for CNET says this shows just how much things have changed in seven years: "[It] reflects how much the attitude toward online video has changed for traditional content companies, from one of protective wariness to one of essential opportunity."