Facebook, others warn adverse ruling could slow Web development

EBay, Facebook, IAC and Yahoo! have come to the defense of YouTube as it faces a $1 billion copyright infringement lawsuit from Viacom.

The four companies have filed an amici curiae brief in U.S. District Court in New York, arguing that should the court favor Viacom’s legal arguments, the growth of the Internet would be jeopardized and “fear of liability could discourage many Internet service providers from developing platforms for use by the public at large.”

In its lawsuit, filed in 2007, Viacom claims that YouTube’s business model hinged on hosting infringing content and that it did little to stop posting of videos from some of its properties, such as “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart” and reality shows on MTV.

YouTube and its parent company, Google, have said they are protected by the “safe harbor” provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and, when they received takedown notices from copyright holders, promptly responded.

Earlier this month, Disney, Warner Bros. and NBC Universal filed a friend-of-the-court brief supporting Viacom.

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