In a perhaps not unexpected move, Google/Youtube has placed itself in the position of betting its future on the results of the Google Broccoli Kitten Settlement.
Miu-miu, a.k.a Broccoli Kitten, sued the billion-dollar firm shortly after its birth in 2010, along with other cats that have been misrepresented on the Internet. An attorney for the cats, which do not speak, claimed that Google had profited from advertisements on searches for “broccoli kitten” and other extremely cute cat videos, appropriating the cultural ur-gestalt embedded in the DNA of the domesticated feline without first seeking permission. Cats sued, filing for a class action representing all mammals and amphibians in videos that had been exploited.
Shortly after the lawsuit was filed, the parties negotiated a Settlement, rather than seeking a judgment from the court. The Settlement would cover all animal videos that had been placed on Youtube from its inception until March 29, 2012, and would allow cats to collect 50% of any advertising revenue that Google would have earned from all search terms that refer to a mammal or amphibian.
The Settlement would also initiate a Cat Video Registry that would be responsible for re-shooting all videos that contain animals other than cats, and replacing them with cats. The Registry would also attempt to locate and catalog the large numbers of orphan cats that exist worldwide, in order to expand Google's database of cat images. In return, Google and Youtube would be free to create new videos of cute cats, without compensation, unless the cats squawked.
A spokesperson for Google, attorney Clancy Claymore, has defended the Settlement in public venues from California to Mississippi, saying that while dogs, horses, and geckos would be included in the suit, they could opt out if they chose--though Google could not guarantee that their images would not be appropriated anyway. Spokesanimals for the affected creatures were unavailable for comment.
The case is now before Second Circuit Judge Juddy Jawe. It is hoped that the Settlement will be approved before the Big Crunch, if indeed the universe doesn’t just fade away into enormity.
-Ann C. Crispin
Chair, Writer Beware
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Price of Freedom