Viacom-YouTube Reach Deal to Anonymize User Data
It seems (perhaps?) common sense prevailed, or maybe it was The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) chiming in (thank you), indicating that this was a clear violation of the federal Video Privacy Protection Act (VPPA).
Either way, Viacom and YouTube have come to an agreement. On Monday, in a blog post, YouTube said:
We are pleased to report that Viacom, MTV and other litigants have backed off their original demand for all users' viewing histories and we will not be providing that information.
Defendants shall produce data from the Logging Database relating to the foregoing activities in anonymized form as provided in Paragraph 1.Viacom will still get it, but at least it will be anonymized.
Of course, this isn't the end of this case. It won't go to court until next year, most likely. And as far as data goes, this isn't the end of that either.
Last weekend, C|Net reported that YouTube was refusing to hand over to Viacom information about what videos YouTube employees have watched or uploaded to the site. Naturally any such information - if confirming that employees indeed participated in viewing or uploading copyrighted material - could be pretty harmful to YouTube.