If you watched a YouTube video that may have been pirated, don’t worry, you’re safe from getting sued. Google will obscure the names of YouTube users and the unique internet addresses of their computers when it follows an existing court ruling and hands a massive amount of user data over to Viacom.
Viacom originally won access to this data as part of its plan to confidentially investigate whether or not its video and music content is being pirated by YouTube users.
“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,” a YouTube blog post explains.
Viacom previously said that the “personally identifiable information that YouTube collects from its users will be stripped from the data before it is transferred to Viacom,” and that it “will use the data exclusively for the purpose of proving our case against You Tube and Google.” While the company did originally ask for the user data in question, it apparently didn’t actually care.
Many people have feared that Viacom would try to gain user data in order to prosecute individuals for doing things like uploading pirated music videos.
It’s not clear if Viacom didn’t really care about user data, in the first place, or if the Google legal team and intense negative publicity prompted the company to back down. In any case we can all go back to watching YouTube videos now, like the hilarious one, above.