After having his account suspended for what YouTube said was a history of repeated copyright violations, uber celebrity-blogger Perez Hilton has announced that he is pulling all of his videos from the site and will henceforth only be posting them to perezhilton.com. YouTube says that it is merely complying with the rules under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act by blocking a known copyright infringer — but is its behaviour towards Perez part of its ongoing war with Viacom?
As CNET points out, many of the copyright complaints about Hilton have come from entertainment giant Viacom, and part of why the Google-owned site might be a little hyper-sensitive about copyright infringement is the ongoing $1-billion lawsuit launched by Viacom against YouTube for just that kind of thing. It’s more than a little ironic, then, that Viacom is also the parent company of VH1, the entertainment channel that owns the rights to Perez Hilton’s TV show, and would presumably be interested in the publicity that his videos might draw on YouTube.
After phone calls back and forth from lawyers, YouTube reinstated Hilton’s account, but by then he had already decided to pull his videos and stick to his own site from now on. But the big question is this: was Google beating up on Perez as a way of sending a message to Viacom about the cost of winning its war? Or maybe it was just trying to do the right thing 🙂