Worried that your obsessive kitten-video viewing records on YouTube would be exposed in Viacom's copyright lawsuit against YouTube? You can relax. Google and Viacom lawyers have reached an agreement to anonymize records of usernames and IP addresses in YouTube's video-viewing logs, which Viacom wants to examine to show patterns of willful copyright infringement on the site. The accounts of employees of both companies, however, aren't included in the deal. And that suggests a negotiating tactic for Google.
Viacom wanted to carve out the records of YouTube employees' video views to show that they knowingly viewed copyrighted content — and in some cases, uploaded it. But Google could easily use its records to show Viacom employees doing exactly the same thing. It would hardly be a shocker: Viacom's Ifilm site is rife with pirated videos, but the site's traffic is too insignificant for copyright holders to get fussed.
Showing Viacom's double standards is an obvious move. What Google's lawyers are probably too naive to contemplate: Scouring YouTube's video logs for truly embarrassing videos viewed by Viacom employees, and leaking them to gossip blogs. That would be a dreadful invasion of privacy, of course — exactly what Viacom was asking for, before it finally backed down.