Viacom takes hold of Google's YouTube database

NEW YORK (KHNL) - In a U.S. District Court in New York, Viacom is continuing its pursuit of a $1 billion dollar copyright infringement lawsuit against Google Inc, owner of online video hosting service YouTube.

A key turn in the case happened on Tuesday when Judge Louis Stanton ordered Google to turn over its database of YouTube usernames and log ins to Viacom.

Viacom, owners of Paramount Studios and MTV believe that viewers on YouTube are watching more copyrighted content than what was once expected. They plan to use the database as evidence to prove the point that YouTube is allowing copyrighted material to be uploaded in order to draw more traffic to its site.

YouTube's terms of service clearly states that users are forbidden from uploading copyrighted material without permission from the copyright holder, yet they do not prevent it from happening. Copyrighted material is only removed at the request of the copyright owners.

Privacy activists believe that Viacom's acquisition of the usernames in the YouTube database violates the Video Privacy Protection Act. Viacom says that the personal information will only be used to identify what videos people are watching. They believe this evidence will prove their case against Google and YouTube.

Many are worried that the outcome of the court case could drastically change the content of YouTube videos.