There is a big case making its way through the appellate court today that could have huge copyright protection implications: Viacom is battling YouTube in court, over whether or not YouTube should be held responsible for its users uploading copyrighted videos and Viacom material. YouTube is arguing that they should not be held responsible, since they do what they can to squash copyrighted videos. But Viacom is claiming that YouTube built its original business model on users uploading illegal videos, and only started taking down copyrighted material after Viacom started suing the company in 2007. Viacom is also alleging that YouTube only got to the point where it can take down videos--via its new-ish system protecting copyright holders--because of it rising in prominence thanks to copyrighted material uploaded by users getting it popularity. That makes some sense, really.
What's at stake in the case--which could move to the Supreme Court eventually--is whether or not internet companies should be held responsible for everything their users do. If so, it could mean companies like RapidShare and MediaFire could be liable for all the illegal filesharing that happens there. Read more at Variety.