Viacom's Lawyer Would Rather Not Sue

At the Convergence 2.0 conference Monday, Viacom general counsel Michael Fricklas talked hopefully of a "consensus starting to build" about what are the right practices for using content on the Internet, and how content owners are starting to work with the big portals like YouTube (which Viacom is suing for using content without permission) who are starting to put in filtering technology to automatically catch copyrighted material.

"We have a big interest in seeing a system of rules develop," he said, adding that Viacom is "not a company that would like to see every kind of right locked up tight," instead needing a "robust media culture." Viacom, he said, doesn't go after people who have made a "transformative use" (a phrase from fair use law) of their content, but rather folks who simply, say, put a TV episode or movie up online. He made the point that YouTube and others had moved quickly to keep porn off their servers, so they could, he said, do the same for copyrighted content.

But in implying he really would rather have cooperation than sue, isn't he kind of like a guy pointing a gun who says he'd rather not have to use it?

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