Viacom, the parent company behind assets such as Paramount and MTV, sued YouTube in 2007 for alleged copyright infringement. Viacom argued that YouTube was allowing its users to freely share copyrighted materials owned by Viacom.
A 2010 district court ruling saw victory for YouTube when Judge Louis Stanton rejected Viacom's arguments and summarily ruled that Google was indeed protected by the Safe Harbor provision of the DMCA, which affords certain protections to service providers against the actions of its users, as long as a clear anti-infringement policy is in place.
Viacom appealed the 2010 decision, and had a minor victory of sorts in 2012 when the 2010 summary judgement was thrown out, forcing the case back to court. Google also scored a victory during this appeal, with the court upholding Stanton's ruling that YouTube's upload function did qualify for Safe Harbor protection, something Viacom had argued against.
And so when the case was brought before Judge Stanton again, again, the judge ruled in favor of Google, citing Safe Harbor. Judge Stanton did not feel Viacom was able to sufficiently prove YouTube had been aware of specific cases of infringement.
"The burden of showing that YouTube knew or was aware of the specific infringements of the works in suit cannot be shifted to YouTube to disprove," the ruling reads. "Congress has determined that the burden of identifying what must be taken down is to be on the copyright owner, a determination which is proven practicable in practice. [Viacom] acknowledges that they lack 'the kind of evidence that would allow a clip by clip assessment' supplies the answer."