YouTube vs. Viacom – Mask or no Mask

YouTube will be allowed to mask the identities of individual users when it turns over the database records to Viacom in the ongoing a $1 billion copyright-infringement lawsuit. YouTube was ordered to turn over on July 1, 2008, said they will substitute user IDs and Internet addresses, before submitting the database to Viacom as required. This database of the logs will show when each video was played. Viacom is out to prove more copyright-protected videos are viewed then amateur clips. The judge if you remember U.S. District Judge Louis L. Stanton had originally decided first amendment and privacy concerns were no longer needed. YouTube has the plaintiffs sign agreement that they could change the identifiers with other values, giving them a week to decide what that will be. There is another layer of security, as the data is not publicly released. Plaintiffs will be able to view information under a court-sanctioned confidentiality order. The problem is if a YouTube employees name is masked who knowingly watched a copyright-protected video the claims YouTube is making about not having knowledge of this content will be a smoking gun. So although it appears that the first amendment was saved there still could be an overturn based on who will be masked.