How much did Google spend to fend off Viacom’s $1 billion copyright lawsuit? On today’s earnings call, CFO Patrick Pichette revealed that Google’s legal bills for the case amounted to $100 million, and that was before it went to trial.
The legal bill could have ended up being many times that amount, but last month the judge threw out the case, and Google declared victory. Viacom will reportedly try to appeal, but the summary judgement was pretty harsh. As I wrote at the time:
The fact that the judge granted YouTube’s summary motion to dismiss the case sends a clear message to media companies: Live by the DMCA, Die by the DMCA. The “safe harbor” provision in that Act is what protects YouTube and other Websites from being sued for the copyright infringement of their users as long as they take down infringing material. The judge found that while there were a huge number of infringing videos on YouTube, the site did take them down when notified. In fact, he points out one instance in 2007 when Viacom gave YouTube a single takedown notices for 100,000 videos. By the next day they were down.
Unless Viacom can find a judge who interprets the DMCA more liberally, this lawsuit is going nowhere. YouTube is here to stay, as long as Google has billions of dollars of cash in its war chest.
If Google spent $100 million on lawyers, I wonder how much Viacom spent.