Because if the DMCA goes away, Google users go away. Which is why this company will do anything and everything to protect the statute, even if that means allying with a blatant, known infringer.
You can thank that little BitTorrent tracker up in Canada for potentially ripping the DMCA apart. Just recently, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals found isoHunt to be completely infringing, based on its obvious knowledge and inducement of unauthorized content theft.
And the decision made it extremely clear that one violation introduces massive liability for all cases of content infringement.
Which is exactly where Google could have a serious problem. “Google does not believe that this sweeping interpretation of the panel opinion is correct; indeed, such a misreading could lead to absurd results that would pose a significant danger to legitimate service providers and to the integrity of the DMCA,” the Google opinion read.
This isn’t just theoretical word-smithing: at this very moment, Viacom is using the isoHunt opinion against Google, perhaps a glimmer of hope in an otherwise losing fight. Viacom’s argument is that if Google exerts ‘substantial control’ over one infringing area, it should be liable for all violations.
Google favors a sharply narrowed definition, one that minimizes the penalties for one f*&k-up. “Imagine, for example, a video-hosting service that was otherwise eligible for the section 512(c) safe harbor, but that on one occasion commissioned a particular user to upload a video that, unbeknownst to the service, turned out to be infringing,” the Google brief argued. “A court might conclude that the service exerted a ‘substantial influence’ over that instance of infringement and, if the service earned a direct financial benefit from it, there would be grounds for denying the safe harbor for a claim based on that video.”
“It would make no sense to thereby disqualify the service provider from DMCA protection across the board.”
Or, would it make total sense?