Viacom: It's not who, but how many
EmptyIf you watch Comedy Central clips of Jon Stewart on YouTube, your secret is safe from Viacom.
In a compromise that ought to calm the fears of those who seek online anonymity, Viacom will be told how many users are viewing its content on YouTube but will not be told their names.
Viacom's declaration Tuesday is an important step in its $1 billion lawsuit against YouTube parent Google because it should satisfy privacy advocates who might otherwise have created a PR nightmare for the media conglomerate.
Viacom is the largest of several entities that are suing Google for enabling users to post to YouTube clips of content recorded from TV. But after a judge ruled that Google should turn over its YouTube user data to Viacom, YouTube enthusiasts objected.
Viacom, though, said that it has no use for data on individuals but just needs to know how popular its content is at the site. Therefore, it has agreed to get numbers from Google, not names.
The lawsuit is expected to be in the discovery phase through the year, with a trial beginning as early as mid-2009.(partialdiff)