back to article Judge grants Viacom 12TB of YouTube user records

In the ongoing $1bn legal spat between Google and Viacom, a federal judge has ordered the search giant to turn over all existing records of every video viewed on YouTube. That includes user account names and IP addresses. Yesterday, Judge Louis L. Stanton said Google must provide Viacom with the 12 terabyte "logging database …


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  1. Alan W. Rateliff, II
    Paris Hilton

    Static IP addresses?

    So my static DSL IP address to which no one else has access cannot be used to determine viewing patterns, interests, or random tastes? Hogwash. Sounds like a third-party lawsuit to challenge the ruling is needed.

    Paris, because she knows about random tastes.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Machine Readable?

    Did they specify the format in which they have to hand over the data?Tapes, floppy discs or good old continuous stationery? Or even better, send it by fax.

  3. heystoopid
    Paris Hilton


    hmmm knowing google , this baby will go all the way to the Supremes , for the Judge has truly lost the plot like "Jeffery White" in the infamous "Wikileaks" case !

    Common case law usually limits the maximum discovery information to the case in question only no more no less , as which most judges are usually fully aware of at all times !

    Some people lose the plot all the time !

  4. Steve

    What is happening with the world?

    Maybe i'm getting old, maybe i've just been shortsighted - but isn't the point of a judge to UPHOLD the law?

    Seriously - I mean what the fuck is going on when a judge in a court case ignores the laws he's doesn't fancy?

    Stop the planet - I want to get the fuck off

  5. Stephen

    silly gootube, piracy is illegal

    @ steve

    last time i checked, judges interpret the law... police uphold it.

    @ heystoopid

    the entire log would be relevant to the case, since they are trying to show the amount of piracy taking place.

  6. Steve Liddle

    Guess Youtube is not so appealing now

    not aware that have viewed copyright disputed material on youtube, has been personal stuff I shot and a lot of parkour clips

    12 TB over 4 4 TB drives is a lot of data to wade thru, just hope they not get lost in transit

    not even in the same country as Viacom, but will just have to wait and see what happens I guess

  7. Christoph

    Double think

    So IP addresses aren't good enough to identify people when investigating possible piracy - but they are good enough to identify people to prosecute for piracy.

  8. Fuzzy

    Ruled on the data not the format

    The judge ruled on the data to hand over not the format. The only thing Goggle need to do is provide it in a commoly used format to satisfy the court. I think 3.5" floppies are still a common medium,

    Love to see viacom's collective face when a cnvoy of delivery trucks roll up to deliver the 12TB of data

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Content generated by, and embedded within, a third-party website?

    So, of those 12TB, a few will be a record of when I went to , with it’s embedded YouTube video. Why do Viacom need to see this information?

  10. Anonymous Coward

    There is no laws anymore

    As any big media company such as Viacom can easly BUY any judge they like (this farce just prove it once more). The is a CLEAR invasion of privacy and hope google will fight it up to suprem court and Viacom totally ILLEGAL EXTORTION demands will fall. When a judge is faced with such stupid (and clearly ILLEGAL) demands and decide to the take the money and release a FAKE judgement with no LEGAL value in any court of law (if a un corrupted court of law still exist) the jude need to be jailed for life and the criminal company behind it (in this case VIACOM) need to be shutdown and its asset liquidated.

    The MPAA/RIAA and openly criminal company such as Viacom and Sony now have total control over the justice system. There is no longuer any justice anywhere.

    Fact: buying a product from one of the MPAA/RIAA member is ILLEGAL as you are directly supporting organize crime when you do so.

  11. teacake


    "The judge ruled on the data to hand over not the format. The only thing Goggle need to do is provide it in a commoly used format to satisfy the court. I think 3.5" floppies are still a common medium"

    Good idea - with the data in a zip file spanned across the disks, which are unlabelled and shuffled ramdomly.

    Please insert disk 6758398 of 9118052 and click OK to continue...

  12. Someone

    Why all the data? (Re: silly gootube, piracy is illegal)

    If you only wanted to “compare the attractiveness of allegedly infringing video with that of non-infringing videos”, a non-biased sample would do. How about every one thousandth record? Not only does Judge Louis ‘moron’ Stanton not do Internet, he doesn’t do statistics either.

  13. adnim

    Sending the data.

    Fax as suggested seems a little to convenient, perhaps Morse code would be better suited, manually transmitted of course.

  14. kain preacher


    The judge would be pissed at floppies, even that tool would know better. No give it to them on qic 80 :)

  15. Herby

    How many floppies??

    Let's see:

    at 1.44Mbyte each we get: around 8.33+ million floppies. Making them at the rate of 1 per second, gets us to about 100 days just to make them.

    Oh, Mr. Judge, it might be a while!

    Plenty of time for an appeal!

  16. Steve Sherlock

    Media Choices

    I think my choice of medium would have to be email.

    You think viacoms networks can handle an influx of 12TB of data? I've no doubt google can manage it - they probably hit that daily at least!

    Naturally, you'd have to send it two or three times just to make sure it gets through. Don't wanna delay things with the courts now, do you?

  17. yeah, right.

    Common format?

    Most common format is a printout. I wonder how much paper 12TB would take?

    Anyone have a small forest they aren't using?

  18. The Aussie Paradox
    Paris Hilton

    US Judge

    This does not affect me! After all, I am in Oz and a US judge does not have juristiction over here. Right? Right?


    Are they going to "monitor" these IP's to make sure they are not downloading or uploading all those wonderful US movies that they prize so dearly that they must charge millions of dollars for???

    Stop the planet, I want to get off.

    Paris, cause she would never disclose the IP of the person watching her.

  19. Chris C

    Choice of format

    I don't see a problem with using an electronic format. In fact, I recommend using Microsoft Word 2007's patent-encumbered XML format. With the additional bloat of XML, that should be good to expand that 12TB into about 70TB or so (yes, I'm completely making up that figure, but I suspect XML would increase the size by quite a bit). I wonder how long it would take to load a 12TB Word document...

    Okay, fine. Tell Google to be nice and split the log into 1GB files, then put each of the files onto a USB flash drive. I wonder how much Viacom would like to get a shipment of around 12,288 flash drives. Of course, Google could use 256MB flash drives (49,152 of them) if that would be more convenient...

  20. Jeremy

    @Yah, right

    While we are at it print it out in binary. It is afterall stored that way on disk so we need to leave it in a machine readable form :)

  21. Christoph


    Send it in a standard format .RFC 1149. Now that's giving them the bird!

  22. Adam C

    What about when you....

    Visit a page with an embedded youtube video in it and it automatically starts buffering.. does that log your IP address?

    Sounds to me like Viacom are letting themselves in for a whole world of shite here..

  23. Chris Hill

    Common format?

    Paper would be far to bulky, even if printed in a small font. What we need is a really really small font. Put the data to microfiche and send that. Need to make sure that the print out is against a randomly repeating interfering background to make OCR as hard as possible (possibly use random fonts, rotations and position shifts in the foreground too).

  24. richard

    is the judge's ruling available on youtube?

    would love to watch it....legally of course.

  25. frymaster

    @Alan W. Rateliff, II

    Depending on your ISP, it can be even worse than that... I admin some multiplayer FPS servers, and the standard tool for remote player management (HLSW) takes the IP can tries to match it up to country and ISP. It one case, ISP field was the guy's _name_ (the first name matched his in-game nick) because his name was in the RIPE record. So for some ISPs, automated tools can match static IPs to personally identifiable information using publically available databases.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    internet != privacy

    So a major site are handing over their logs to someone else... nothing new here, google were involved in the government demand for logs too (but they resisted that time).

    Its really quite simple, there is no assumed privacy on the internet, IF google 'do no evil' and respect the data in the logs about you and me, that counts for little when a court can demand they are handed over to a more unscrupulous company like Viacom.

    I hate the phrase about nothing to hide, but generally its a good idea to be lawful on the internet or take good steps such as encrypted bit torrents. Copyright upload to youtube is making yourself an easy target for collective MPAA or RIAA and their chums.

  27. Niall

    Let me get this straight

    Viacom to scriptwriters/actors material on the Internet is worthless

    Viacom to judge material on the Internet is priceless.

  28. Elmer Phud
    IT Angle

    re: Machine Readable?

    How about self-exe zip files spread over 10" floppies?

    (no labels on disk). Keep 'em busy for a while.

  29. Marc Savage
    Thumb Up

    Lots of paper

    Assuming 80 rows and 100 columns, expressing the data as binary in 8pt font and using 80gsm paper thats a cube 50m on a side.


  30. John
    Thumb Up

    If the IP addresses are removed/changed, then no problem

    If I'm reading this right, Google is saying it will remove (or change) the IP addresses and Viacom is accepting that. I don't see a privacy issue here or am I missing something?

    Saying that IP addresses don't identify people is, of course, clearly bollocks.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    On Paper...

    Assuming 80 characters per line and 52 lines per page, I make it about 3 billion sheets of paper.

    Of course, that would be if you filled up every page with solid information, but there will be line breaks before reaching the end of the row, so probably more like 5 billion or so.

  32. Xander

    Not really comeuppance

    "The reality though is that in most cases, an IP address without additional information cannot [identify you]."

    This is true except for static IPs. However, the judge really should not quote this as he IS handing over more than just IP addresses, all their vieiwing habits are attatched. Just look at the AOL logs, the IP would never have revealed anything extra had it been attatched as it was the human information, namely the search terms, that revealed who the users were.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Stop complaining and do something useful

    Write to Google's legal department and tell them you don't want your viewing habits passed on to Viacom. They can then use this as evidence that objections from users aren't just hypothetical. You could also point out that US courts have found !P address and time to be sufficient personal identification in copyright infringement suits brought by the record companies, that Viacom hasn't contacted you as required by the VPPA, and that EU data protection rules may apply to your data anyway.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    Hows about sending all 12TB of data across the internet with BT or Virgin as their ISP. As a zipped up rared tar. It'll take so long they'll have forgotten about it by the time it finally arrives- AND if BT and Virgin start blocking the file or throttling it they'd be obstructing justice. This would then be a criminal offence, so they'd have to remove the throttling on their systems...

    How about someone shows that IP addresses are personally identifiable in a single case- this would make it clear that IP Address Only data storage isn't properly anonymised. Every layer of information they strip off, just rinse and repeat. Submit your findings to the US courts every time.

    To keep this post fair, some advice to Viacom- ask for a judge-verified-as-true record of the number of times a video has been played. Nothing personally identifiable will then be stored, so no laws broken and no-one really bitching about it.

    Oh, and next time- DO THINGS F**KING PROPERLY. Find the videos that are copyrighted, tell Google/Youtube about them, get them removed. That's the established process- an entirely reasonable process- and that seems to work fine for everyone else.

    Paris because even she could see that Viacom didn't need all that information.

  35. Mal Franks
    Thumb Down

    User IDs

    I'm sure User IDs themselves can be used to identify a heck of a lot of people, especially if they're the name of the actual user and/or used for other services as well as YouTube such as blogs etc.

  36. Anonymous Coward

    I think what the judge actually ruled on, was

    I think this case makes it clear. The judge actually ruled that browsing any web server that stores logs inside the US corporacy is stupid.

  37. StooMonster


    I'm quite interested in the final analysis of this data: do people watch the copyrighted material or the home-made stuff more?

  38. MarkW

    And Google only wants the data for honourable reasons?

    Of course, Google is just keeping the logs "to improve their service to consumers".

    If Google ever had a "do no evil" rule, its logs would be purged nightly.

    If you think Google wouldn't hand over your search histories, YouTube visits and any other IP data it has harvested to any government agency that asked, then you're living in cloud cuckoo land.

  39. Steven Hunter

    @yeah, right

    Well, let's do some maths...

    Assuming: 12TB is 1.31941395333*10^13 8bit ASCII characters

    Assuming: 1 character prints as a 10x10 pixel group (It's a weird font, OK?)

    Assuming: Average laser printer is 1,440,000 dots/square inch (1200dpi)

    Thus a single sheet of 20lbs US Letter paper holds1,346,400 characters (with no margins). Duplexed 12TB would use 4,899,785 sheets of paper which would weigh about 48,997.85 US pounds. (The area of which is ~14,223.63 nWa.)

    Cost and time:

    Assuming US$0.035 per page and 50ppm, that's $171,492.48 taking ~68 days of non-stop printing.

    Course it will take incalculably longer for Viacomm to perform the reverse function. So I say go for it. F*ck those bastards.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    All I can say is

    Thank god I don't live in the US..

    Land of the free? Ya right.

  41. Darren B

    What I don't get

    Are Viacom going after the Uploaders, Watchers or Just Google.

    If I watched a video (not a full programme/episode) not knowing it contained footage from a Viacom programme would I be liable for paying to watch it?

    This could open up a massive can of worms regarding the watching/listening of any copyrighted material whether intentional or not. How do you prove that you have intentionally streamed the video/music. With embedded vids and music on sites it is almost impossible to avoid.

  42. paul
    IT Angle

    Another country

    Can google just not say the data is in an indian/sealand /somewhere else and the laws there do not permit Viacom to see it.

    Country A Law vs Country B Law - judge / US state dept must apply to country B for them to get it. ???

  43. Eddie

    @There is no laws anymore

    Erm according to Business Week, Google is vastly richer than Viacom - at least a 10-1 ratio in most estimates of market cap (with my very amateurish examination of the numbers)

    If your assertion is correct about law being bought, that has to be the most cost-effective purchase yet.

    Maybe it's actually, I dunno, justice??

  44. Anonymous Scotsman

    @ Christoph

    IP addresses alone are *not* enough evidence for a prosecution; the time frame that the IP in question was used along with the IP address will be used to strong arm the ISP into giving up customer details, which is a similar issue. The privacy problem of dumping ten thousand spartans worth of IP addresses on viacom is essentially a non-issue if they didnt keep the timestamps ( which is wishful thinking, of course they did).

    <rhetorical>What I want to know is why youtube bothers keeping information like this for longer than necessary (seriously, 12 tb?). </rhetorical>

  45. Anonymous Coward

    google comeuppance {sp} ?

    How do google deserve any comeuppance, they said "an IP address without additional information cannot <identify a user>" but they are being forced to hand everything over which will most definately identify a user.

    If I was google I'd just ignore the ruling, after all the judge can ignore laws he doesn't like so google should be able to say "naaah don't like that one, going to ignore that order"

    It is quite tempting now to go to youtube and start pestering it with searches like "FUCK OFF VIACOM" "ILLEGAL VIACOM FILEZ" "GOOGLE PWNS VIACOM" etcetc.

  46. This post has been deleted by its author

  47. Ash


    At roughly 90 characters per line, 30 lines per A4 sheet (double spaced, of course), single sided, takes 21.6kB to store one page in plain text.

    Knowing how much data is stored on one page, and how much data we have, we can work out:

    12,000,000,000,000 / 21600 = 555,555,555.5 pages.

    555,555,556 / 2500 (sheets per box) = 222,222 boxes of paper.

    At 20ppm black only, we get a time of: 52.8 years to print out.

    555,555,555 pages * (one page every) 3 ( seconds ) / 60 ( minutes ) / 60 ( hours ) / 24 ( days ) / 365 ( years)

    Better get going.

  48. Chris Walker

    I humbly suggest HMRC...

    as the appointed data courier. The logs will therefore never turn up at their intended destination, and Viacom/Google can spend the next century trying to outbid each other for fragments on 'tardBay.

  49. Nish

    Fax is the best way

    to send this data, small print so that it has to be read manually, no electronic search wizardry here! I would like to see some dude/s sat there with magnifying glasses searching out how many times a certain video has been seen.

    If 12 TB takes 3 billion or so pages then how long will it take to get through? some maths please.

  50. Bill Cumming
    IT Angle

    Send the Drives Via UK..

    Send the drives Via UK HMRC (UK Revenue & Customs) service. I can guarantee they will never reach their intended target.

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    well I'm guessing this 12TB contains data from users around the globe and a huge majority of data that has absolutely nothing to do with Viacom.

    Bets on the logs getting shifted to some other people once Viacom get it.

    Things like this i think are further proof that the mythical regiment of hackers the media like to wax on about don't exist. Becouse if they did, Viacom, Youtube and a vast number of others wouldn't be able to maintain a presence on the internet.

    Anon - until the day Reg-US gets forced to hand over it's logs.

  52. RainForestGuppy

    IP Address Identifiable or Not

    As a security professional, I've spent quote a few hours debating this with collegues and peers.

    Years ago when nearly ever PC connected to the Internet had a "real IP" address that could be the case, but now NAT is prevelent that isn't the case. A company can have 1,000's of PC's behind a single IP address, and now in the home, Wireless routers allow for a machine in everyroom.

    ISP use dynamic addressing for DSL connections (unless you specify or pay for static) so in theory the IP address should change, however in my experience because I never reboot my router so it seems to keep the same IP address.

    So what does a third Party website actually record, it's an IP belonging to a company or an ISP. To actually identify an individual (home user) you would have to go to the ISP and ask them to check the logs on their systems to fine out which circuit number (phone number) the IP address was allocated to at the time. However that will only give you the ID of the bill payer, not the identifying the actual individual. Could it be little Billy in his bedroom, Mum using the laptop in the sitting room, Dad in his home office? Does the average home user know how to check logs on a home router? Do they even have the logs turned on?

    Interestingly a couple of years ago when BT broadband was first launched I had an issue connecting to work. I checked the IP address our corporate firewall was seeing when I pinged it and noted it was different to the IP address that was being logged on websites. Obviously at that time BT was Transparently proxying all HTTP traffic. So the IP address recorded by the website would be the proxy address, not the real IP address.

    The only people that can extrapolate useful info from an IP address is the ISP, which is of course is why PHORM is worrying.

    For Info the IP address this will come from is 193........ No, that would identify the company I work for and then you could narrow it down to one of 15,000 people.

    I'll just wipe the Content filtering/firewall logs and I'm safe. Unless of course the El Reg website records the attribute from the browser that records the actual internal address of the computer I'm using, damn I'll have to change my PC's IP address and wipe the DHCP logs aswell.

    So is a IP personally identifiable info? I'm still undecided, The technologist side of me says we'll yes because the information is there somewhere, you may have to go through many different systems owned by different people but it is there. The other side of me says No because the likelyhood of going through all those steps and assuming that all the data is logged correctly and timestamped correctly etc, makes it a complex and hence time consuming/expensive task.

    It's one that's still open for debate. ..

  53. Tom


    I hope it doesn't occur to Viacom that people may have quoted lines from their shows in emails. They would then surely demand Google hand them all the data stored in Gmail.

    That must be quite a bit and quite a bit more personal.

  54. Mark


    Where have you been living?

    Police don't uphold the law, they just arrest. If they upheld the law, they wouldn't be speeding.

    And the law includes that investigation be reasonable and pertinent. This is a fishing expedition and this is NOT part of the legal framework. In fact, it's explicitly forbidden.

  55. Mr B
    Thumb Up

    Lack of revenue due to piracy.

    Fair enough, so Viacom should have a look at all the clips posted on, list the ones that deprive them from their lawful rights to get money and make a note of the "views" number.

    And then get a court order for YouTube to pay them their money. Up to YouTube to do things against the IP bearers to compensate for their loss.

    I shall then copyright my IP address (I should be able to register a company name 92.68.O.O and protect the name) so Google, YouTube & Viacom won't be able to distribute it without my written consent and paying a fee.

    As for the format I guess to ensure the authenticity there is nothing more authentic than a big stack of letterhead paper with every single sheet rubber stamped and manually signed and paraph'd by Judge L.L. Stanton himself ... that'll teach him.

  56. Mark

    Re: If the IP addresses are removed/changed, then no problem

    But if Google can be trusted to do that, why does the data need to go ANYWHERE? Just have Viacom tell Google what URL(s) to look for and ask for the hourly rate of access to that URL.

    Or whatever it is Viacom say they want the data for.

  57. Mark

    Google should do this

    Lose it.

    And say they left it the same place as the Whitehouse left their emails.

  58. zyxyzx


    I think a format that has been missed is good old fashioned ticker-tape. I have no idea how long it would be, but it would have to pretty large. Especially if the data was output in binary.

    On top of that, the data could be encrypted with a 16k bit key, before printing it, in order to prevent loss of private data, and the actual encryption mechanism could be classed as google's own source code, and so they legally could deny providing to Viacom under Copyright legislation.

    Now there's a kick in the balls!

  59. Spider


    why should viacom have access to all the logs? surely it should be the portion only pertaining to those clips they claim are copyright infringement? thats like the police asking for wiretaps on all phones just because they suspect some are involved in criminal activities (i know, i know, they probably do...thats another debate)

    if an IP has perfectly legal content hosted on youtube then viacom have no right to the information, let them list the pages they have issue with and then ask for the info relevant instead of a massive trawl.

  60. Steve

    You people have no imagination!



    Send it by singing telegram. In binary.

  61. Aron A Aardvark

    Viacome only gets what is pertinent to Viacom and not a byte more.

    It would seem that demanding the whole 12TB shebang is excessive. If Google is eventually compelled to disclose YouTube viewing habits, then it should be restricted to only people who watched Viacom material. All other records are clearly not relevant in the slightest to Viacom's discovery.

    Of course, if you had everything, wouldn't it be funny but totally coincidental if, ooh, it somehow, I don't know how, just sort of leaked and found its way into the safe of another large media company's legal office?

  62. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I just thought - at least when the Chinese and Indians got logs out of people to arrest dissadents they only got a few specific records, next time they may aswell demand the whole log if it's alright in the free west why not in the dictatorial east? You go US for setting a shinning example to the rest of the world.

  63. Anonymous Coward

    Lost in the post...

    Just send the disks by TNT; if they're good enough for HM Revenue and Customes...

  64. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @IP Address Identifiable or Not

    for static ip home users it can certainly be used to identify a small number of people (ie a household). The obvious defense is to leave your wireless router completely open, with a security layer further back (as long as you don't mind people possibly using your bandwidth)

    There is then no way they can prove that the machine that was Nat'd through your router was one that you own.

    obviously as long as you don't log mac addresses on your router

  65. Anonymous Coward

    It's obvious what they're trying to do here

    Scare people away from Youtube!!


    It is simply unlawful and unreasonable (as Mark said) for people's details to be handed over where no law was broken. There are many many many legal home video type things on youtube.

    There are also official artist pages where they or their record label put the video up. How is someone supposed to be able to tell what video is the legal one and what video is not? (and what difference does it make? they're still watching the video for free) They don't look at the username in most instances, and just click on the video, watch it and go away, which they can assume to be LEGAL to do, since posting illegal stuff is forbidden.

    They are obviously trying to scare people, the publicity alone is good enough, even if it doesn't go ahead, because now people know that something like this is possible, and it is shocking to many. Oh, we better be good since everything we do is being tracked and can come back to bite us in the ass even years later.

    You know what else? That leads me to question Youtube themselves. Due to data protection laws, surely there should not be a lot of information to hand over in the first place? (there will be of course.. but there shouldn't)

    Realistically why should Youtube still have a log of every single video every single user has ever watched, plus all their personal details- email, name, IP address etc ?? !!

    If this information becomes part of the public record then people are going to have their IP addresses matched up with emails, usernames they use on other sites cross referenced etc. It is a clusterfuck.

    They are getting information that governments do not have access to!!

    Remember that story where the disgruntled (ex?) employee got fined/jailed for going on a rampage and deleting all the company's computer info?? All it takes is one person at google....

    The punishment for Google, even if they blatantly, purposely destroyed all the evidence before it could be handed over would be nothing compared to what the release of such info could do, and will see them become a Hero.

  66. Edward Lilley



    A whole chain of messengers spread out across the US from Viacom headquarters to Google HQ, sitting on towers on hill-tops flailing their arms at each other for the next 45 years.

  67. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Do Viacom have a UK office?

    Can we all start making requests under the Data Protection act for the data they hold on us?

  68. Julian I-Do-Stuff

    Think Small!

    Give that IBM once wrote "IBM" in atoms I suggest - helpfully, you know, keep the wastage down, think green etc. - that Google do the same... 12TB = 96T atoms... it'll weigh next to nothing and fit on a pinhead...

    ...of course They will need an Atomic Force Microscope to read it... one atom at a time...

    [Or - should I have patented it? - custom, high security (wouldn't want the data leaking, would we?) WOM* (Write-Only Memory) chips...]

    *part of the Ultra-Secure Computing project... which also included the ultimate RISC processor - one instruction: NOP.

    The one with Nanotribologist on it (in small letters, of course)

  69. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Common format

    They should deliver the data as captchas.

  70. Morten Bjoernsvik

    Viacom is after the uploaders

    Viacom is after the userids to pinpoint uploaders. They give bollocks in viewing habits, they want to nail down those that fragment part of their precious content and upload to youtube, although the quality is poor and only 10minutes or less, it proves you posess the original content. They'll get a hell of a job sorting out whats pirated and not, so only be the worst uploaders has anything to fear. But they may distribute the info to other copyright-hounds like RIAA, TONO etc

    This will only get worse, more and more companies with dwindling revenues look at ways to reduce exposure of their revenue-generating copyrighted materials. When the government sees reduced income due to a cooling economy, they will legislate what laws needed for the companies to collect evidence against pirates.

    Just get used to it it will only get worse. Just look at France.

  71. Roger Mew


    I guess the day is getting closer when everybody will use something like smarthide, or a server in China. What with that and the so called performing rights the EU. New York and California are both in the United States of America, and the UK and France are in the European Union. Why the need for 2 lots of "royalty", limits on country usage etc.

    Guess this is another case of lets screw the bloke in the street and make him pay for it dearly.

    PS air consumption meters are being trialled by GE, fail to pay for your air and you get cut off....

  72. Anonymous Coward

    Is it only me

    That is alarmed that they even HOLD data for EVERY search and EVERY viewing ever viewed since the company was created in 2005? SHould they not have to get rid if this after a period of time anyway?

    Mine is the one weighed down with all the receipts for every coffee I ever drank..

  73. Graham Marsden

    More obvious...

    ... send it by 50 baud Teletype...!

  74. Anonymous Coward

    taking some action?

    Does anybody know who we need to write to and what we need to say (what specific laws, sections etc we need to cite) so that we can try to get all UK residents details omitted from the log files

    The ICO?? I wouldn't know where to start.. Can someone get the ball rolling and post a link so others can follow your lead (instead of joking about how they might put the data on floppy disks or carve it into beans or whatever..)

  75. Someone

    Even more obvious...

    The data should be sent as a YouTube video. I suggest a parody of Bob Dylan’s Subterranean Homesick Blues.

  76. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Finally, one up on the evil empire

    Everyone should remember that Google is the evil empire. They know more about individual habits of everyone on the planet than the KGB could ever aspire to (even more perhaps than the current surveillance obsessed British government). Now all we need is Google to get a few good hits for their piracy obsessed purchase of YouTube, and we can start to see a degree of normallity return to the world.

    People who don't think that Google is evil should remember that every web search you have ever done, and every site you've visited as a result of that web search is linked to your IP address, which of course, as Google themselves are clearly admitting here, directly links it to you. Plus, Google seem perfectly happy to hand over this information to Governments without much track record in civil liberties. Perhaps you want your searches for "bondage porn" and the sites you clicked through to to be sent to the UK government with their new law on violent porn?

    Anything to try and control Google just a bit would be welcome.

  77. Big Dave


    So Google have to hand a bunch of data over. The ruling doesn't mention

    anything about Viacom accessing the data. Google should just encrypt it.

    There's nothing to suggest that the court ruled for access. "Look,

    here's the crap you wanted. Good luck opening it."

    You have performed an illegal operation.

  78. Bruce Hatton


    Let's think about this.

    Is there any legal requirement to keep such records in the first place?

    If not, then Google can surely say 'Sorry, we don't have that information'.

    It also raises a huge number of issues about about a USA company releasing information about consumers in other regions where such a request would be illegal, though I am sure that, with the current US paranoia, they are entitled to request anything held on a US server.

    Google, just move your front-line servers to China!

  79. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    All your data are belong to us

    You need to CHANGE THE NAME of this article, it's incredibly hard to find, and only people who already know the full story will be able to find it. I couldn' t see it on the main page and used the site's search engine 3 times and nothing turned up.

    For one thing, it has to do with GOOGLE.../ youtube and you don't have that all important word - GOOGLE in the title. That gets everyone's attention.

    Nobody knows who Viacom are yet, we are just referring to them as "some bastards"

    I'm wondering why Viacom only want registered users. Surely this isn't fair and should extend to all visitors to the site ever, since they're being stupid about it.

    Being registered doesn't mean you've uploaded.

  80. Goo


    Google has gone way above and beyond it's legal requirement here, American judges are so retarded. No surprise there.

  81. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects
    Jobs Halo

    Get a Man from Mars to write it out

    In Chinese and farsee. Then send it on an Ooksmell orifice document over one of Vilecoms free whyless wotsits at a busy time of day when we have been alerted which particular time and which particular day.

    (I wouldn't mind a sample of that. A very small sample.)

    Not that Google are likely to comply. Not if they have been reading Groklaw and how to work the system they won't.

    One up for the Chair Man of OOKSMELL. Nice one Steven!

  82. Nick
    Thumb Down

    ip address privacy

    The assumption that ip addresses do not identify a person tends to fall down (at least in the UK) when the element of the DPA release form (a form that requests data, held under the Data Protection Act [personal identifying data] to be divulged as part of an investigation) is entered into the mix. Get an ip address and a time, contact owner of ip address, send a dpa release form to them and they must reveal the details of that customer. That means contact details etc.

    I think they're micturating windwards if the clip is less than 10% of the whole, as that is allowed under copyright provision for the purposes of "2fair dealing", although how would it stand up if the same person posted 20 instalments, each containg 5% of a video/ music track :)

  83. Ray Simard
    Thumb Down

    Am I missing something here, or are THEY missing something?

    From the article:

    " 'We will ask Viacom to respect users' privacy and allow us to anonymize the logs before producing them under the court's order.'

    "And it looks like Viacom will give the OK. 'The Court's recent decision has triggered concern about what information will be disclosed and how it will be used,' according to a canned statement from the company. 'Viacom has not asked for and will not be obtaining any personally identifiable information of any user.

    " 'Any information that we or our outside advisors obtain - which will not include personally identifiable information - will be used exclusively for the purpose of proving our case against YouTube and Google, will be handled subject to a court protective order and in a highly confidential manner.'"

    Well, then...

    If all that is to be believed, then what POSSIBLE use would anyone have for IP addresses and logins? Logins would be used for...what? To identify users, what else?

    IP addresses have no intrinsic relevance to content, therefore no relevance to piracy unless and until they are used to...what? To identify offenders, what else?

    But then, is it that are they intending to identify only those actually guilty of illegal uploading? There's no exception for that case mentioned in the article or any of the newspaper articles I've seen. But let's suppose that is what they intend to do. Well, then...

    Within 12 Terabytes of logging data there many logins? And what fraction of those are the miscreants Viacom is supposedly interested in finding? And of that staggering number, what fraction do they intend to actually try to chase down? Unauthorized uploads are hardly the work of a handful of evil syndicates; they are the work of multitudes of average Joes and Janes typically connecting via residential ADSL with dynamic IP addresses. How many court orders will have to be prepared and delivered to how many ISPs, who must then retrieve records of who was using what IP address at this or that time, which means...

    ...once again, user identities. What else?

    Sure, piracy is a serious matter. But what is YouTube? Short, low-resolution, low-quality fragments of things. Is Viacom so utterly out of touch as to really believe people who would otherwise be paying for content are going to pass on the purchase when they can see a tiny bit of it on YouTube? If anything, YouTube-type excerpts probably create more interest in buying products than interfering with it.

    What on earth does Viacom plan to do with 12 Terabytes of data that won't cost them hundreds of times over what they have lost due to YouTube uploads, according to the most outlandish estimates they could possibly get away with claiming?

    This has all the signs of muscle-flexing and chest-pounding, hoping to mount a high-profile case, widely reported to the masses, to intimidate the net-using public. There's no doubt some ego-driven wish on Viacom's part to prove they're bigger and badder than something like Google which, good or bad, is big stuff to be bigger and badder than. (Screw the grammar.)

    Shakespeare was right. (Henry IV, Act IV, Scene 2)

    [ Another thought: If Viacom can get their mitts on all this, can the RIAA, the MPAA and other similar groups on other countries be far behind? How many more times will YouTube, and perhaps others, have to fork over these data? And once that avalanche is triggered, what's all of this going to cost?]

  84. Belxjander Serechai

    This is truly ridiculous...

    I wonder if I should invoke *3* government sets of legal terms here...

    since I am a New Zealander in Japan viewing material from the EU/US...

    wait... thats *4* sets of privacy laws...

    and *3* of those are completely out of bounds for the US judge...

    NZ Privacy Act requires my direct consent... where are the details to make

    submissions about this lunacy?

    is it now automatic that "Internet user"=="ad viewer" and I am *very* aware

    through my own reading of Internet protocols there is a LOT of data shifting

    international borders...

    Just because *anything* is online doesnt mean its always going to be limited

    for the juristictions it abides by...

    "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder" and "the pen is mightier than the sword"

    both come to my mind...

  85. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Viacom are idiots. Do they really think we are going to fall for that

    " 'Any information that we or our outside advisors obtain - which will not include personally identifiable information - will be used exclusively for the purpose of proving our case against YouTube and Google, will be handled subject to a court protective order and in a highly confidential manner.' "

    ....all Viacom needs to know is the total views of the youtube videos, then compare legal versus illegal popularity.

    They could even do that with a couple of employees without anyone ever knowing. No courts needed, no usernames needed, no IP addresses needed.

    Looks like they're going to be selling it or passing it on to the government etc..

    Like we are going to trust them...

  86. John

    Conflict of laws

    Renvoi (or double renvoi) is the terminology used when the laws of one country infinge onthose of another. If the US courts have made a ruling it means that they have viewed the content of the case and decided it is something they can make a ruling on.

    With ref to the non-locked down wireless network, in the UK it is the responsibility of the person who the connection is registered to - for a company I suppose that would be the directors of that company.

    12TB of log files FFS!

  87. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    " With ref to the non-locked down wireless network, in the UK it is the responsibility of the person who the connection is registered to "

    Not if you have a decent lawyer.

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