Cynthia Brumfeld noticed that Viacom actually raised the stakes in a recently (.pdf) amended complaint from April. In addition to pointing out that YouTube hosts all kinds of copyrighted content, the company emphasizes that YouTube is guilty of public performance of such content due to the way it presents and plays the videos. The filing highlights YouTube’s embedding and sharing features as particularly problematic for the way it encourages infringement. Rather than just helping users violate copyright, it argues, YouTube is a direct infringer.
Of course they want to say this. The penalties are higher, for one thing! The DMCA (generally a bad law, but…) does seem to offer Google protection, so we’ll see. I must admit I’m generally more sympathetic to Google than YouTube, since the overall good of allowing creativity and sharing on YouTube outweighs possible harm (this might harken back to the old Sony Betamax case). And they do take content down when it’s reported to them, after all.