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Posted at 03:32 PM ET, 04/05/2012

The Circuit: Viacom and YouTube, Wayland to be acting antitrust head at DOJ, e-book settlement

Viacom, YouTube suit sent back to lower court: A U.S. Court of Appeals judge in Manhattan on Thursday sent the $1 billion case between Viacom and YouTube back to district court for further consideration.

The district court had ruled that YouTube did not have knowledge of specific pieces of infringing content, and therefore was protected under the safe harbor provision of the copyright law.

On Thursday, the appeals court upheld that ruling in part, but asked that the district court reconsider the case and ask more questions about how much YouTube employees knew about specific, infringing videos and whether the company had shown “willful blindness” to addressing certain clips.

“[A] reasonable jury could conclude that YouTube had knowledge or awareness...at least with respect to a handful of specific clips,” the court ruled.

Both Viacom and YouTube said in statements that they are happy with the ruling.

Wayland to be acting antitrust head: On Thursday, the Justice Department announced Joe Wayland will be the acting assistant attorney general for antitrust, effective at the end of the month. Wayland, who replaces outgoing acting head Sharis Pozen, is known for his work on DOJ’s case opposing the merger between AT&T and T-Mobile.

In a statement, Attorney General Eric Holder said, “Joe’s leadership and litigation expertise has made him a significant asset to the Antitrust Division and to the department.  I know that he will maintain strong antitrust enforcement during this time of transition.” 

Pozen is returning to private practice.

E-book settlement: Apple and two publishers are resisting a settlement on the terms brought by the Justice Department and antitrust officials in the E.U. over allegations that the publishers are fixing the prices of e-books, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.

According to the report, the settlement would end the deal that Apple has worked out with publishers and let Amazon resume discount electronic versions of books.

The E.U. and Justice are investigating Apple, and four of the world’s largest publishers: HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Penguin and MacMillan. It’s not clear, the report said, which publishers are resisting the terms.

Tribune, DirecTV: Tribune and DirecTV have resolved a long-standing dispute over retransmission late Wednesday, The Associated Press reported. The deal ends a blackout in 19 U.S. markets and comes in time for Major League Baseball’s opening day.

The companies reached a five-year deal that will let DirecTV carry Tribune local broadcasts and WGN America. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Rising adoption of e-readers: The Washington Post reported that a fifth of American adults have read an electronic version of a book in the last year, a trend that is fueling a renewed love of reading, according to a new survey from the Pew Internet and American Life Project.

The portion of e-book readers among all American adults has increased to 21 percent from 17 percent between December and February, due in large part to a boom in tablet and e-reader sales this past holiday season.

But the news isn’t all good for publishers, according to experts. Even though 40 percent of e-book readers say they are plowing through more book titles on their devices, the industry hasn’t quite turned that trend into fatter profits.

By  |  03:32 PM ET, 04/05/2012

 
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