In 1981, MTV launched with thesong, “Video Killed the Radio Star” — staking claim to a new media.Ironically, MTV’s parent, Viacom,now cries that the Internet haskilled the video star — or atleast it will unless a courtenjoins YouTube.com.Viacom, which also ownsParamount Pictures andComedy Central (amongothers), is suing YouTube andYouTube’s recent purchaser,Google, claiming “GooTube”has promoted “massive intentionalcopyrightinfringement” onthe popular videosharingWeb site. Inaddition to aninjunction, Viacomseeks over a billiondollars in damages.

At the heart of thedispute is the Digital MillenniumCopyright Act (DMCA), Congress’s 1998attempt to strike a balance between an 18thcentury legal concept — copyright — and21st century Internet-based technology.Interestingly, the balance that took 200years to strike may already be outdated lessthan 10 years later — confirmation that thelaw always has difficulty keeping up withtechnology.

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