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Google/Viacom settlement may illustrate future of IP disputes

Intellectual property laws are struggling to keep up pace with the mercurial nature of information on the Internet. In many instances, conventional attitudes toward patents, trademarks and copyrights do not seem to fit well with the new ways that Internet technology and businesses intersect. For this reason, Las Vegas companies may begin to see the need to take a more conciliatory view toward intellectual property rights, rather than constantly initiating business litigation.

Google and Viacom have settled an intellectual property case on seemingly-cooperative terms. The case involved Google’s YouTube unit, which Viacom claims was posting video clips of copyrighted materials. Both companies acknowledged that they will likely need to learn to work together as the nature of the media business continues to evolve, and there is also a suggestion that the two may collaborate on future projects.

The case was initiated seven years ago, and Viacom initially asked courts to require YouTube to pay $1 billion for copyright infringement. The current settlement does not require any monetary payments from either company.

It is arguable that in order for businesses to stay alive and remain relevant, they must learn to adapt to changing environments and their consumers’ evolving wants and needs. Sometimes this means that they must pursue aggressive business litigation in order to address unfair competition and an intellectual property dispute, but in some instances cooperative efforts may be more beneficial. Companies that wish to work collaboratively with other businesses may wish to consult an attorney to help structure any relevant contracts or other legal arrangements.

 

Source: money.cnn.com, “Google, Viacom settle YouTube lawsuit,” Brian Stelter, Mar. 18, 2014

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