Post Process

Everything to do with E-discovery & ESI

Case Blurb: YouTube; Court Discusses Production of Database Schemas

Posted by rjbiii on August 12, 2008

Database Schemas

Plaintiffs seek the schemas for the “Google Advertising” and “Google Video Content” databases. FN7. A schema is an electronic index that shows how the data in a database are organized by listing the database’s fields and tables, but not its underlying data.

FN7:Defendants have agreed to produce the schema for the “Claims” database.

A. Google Advertising Schema

Google earns most of its revenue from fees it charges advertisers to display advertisements on Google.com (the “AdWords” program) or on third party websites that participate in its “AdSense” program. Google stores data about each of the billions of advertising transactions made in connection with those programs in the Google Advertising database. The schema for that database “constitutes commercially sensitive information regarding Google’s advertising business”, the disclosure of which would permit others to profit without equivalent investment from the “years of refinement and thousands of person hours” of work Google spent selecting the numerous data points it tracks in connection with its advertising programs. Only trivial percentages of the fields and tables in the database “possibly relate to advertising revenue generated from advertisements run on YouTube,” and defendants have “already agreed to provide Plaintiffs with the small amount of YouTube-related data contained in the Google Advertising database.”

Plaintiffs argue that the schema is relevant to “show what Defendants could have or should have known about the extent to which their advertising revenues were associated with infringing content, and the extent to which Defendants had the ability to control, block or prevent advertising from being associated with infringing videos.”

However, given that plaintiffs have already been promised the only relevant data in the database, they do not need its confidential schema, which “itself provides a detailed to roadmap to how Google runs its advertising business,” to show whether defendants were on notice that their advertising revenues were associated with infringing videos, or that defendants decline to exercise their claimed ability to prevent such associations.

Therefore, the motion for production of the Google Advertising schema is denied.

B. Google Video Schema

By plaintiffs’ description the Google Video Content database stores “information Defendants collect regarding videos on the Google Video website, which is a video-sharing website, similar to YouTube, that is operated by Defendant Google.” The Google Video website has its own video library, but searches for videos on it will also access YouTube videos.

Plaintiffs argue that the schema for that database will reveal “The extent to which Defendants are aware of and can control infringements on Google Video” which “is in turn relevant to whether Defendants had ‘reason to know’ of infringements, or had the ability to control infringements, on YouTube, which they also own and which features similar content.” (plaintiffs’ italics). That states a sufficiently plausible showing that the schema is relevant to require its disclosure, there being no assertion that it is confidential or unduly burdensome to produce.

Therefore, the motion to compel production of the Google Video schema is granted.

Viacom Int’l Inc. v. YouTube Inc., 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 50614 (S.D.N.Y. July 1, 2008 ) (internal citations removed).

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