Universal Music Publicly Threatens To Sue YouTube, MySpace

from the let's-try-this-again dept

It’s most likely that this is a negotiating tactic, since YouTube has indicated that it’s been in negotiation with all of the major record labels recently, but Universal Music’s CEO was quoted today saying that he believed both YouTube and MySpace were copyright infringers. This shows a willful misunderstanding of the law — and it’s a shame that no one seems to be calling him on this. He knows as well as anyone that neither YouTube nor MySpace are the direct infringers, and that it’s only the people who upload copyrighted materials to those sites who are infringing. There are two ways that the companies might be guilty of some form of infringement, but that’s not what Doug Morris seemed to be indicating. If they were alerted to unauthorized content on the site and were slow to remove it, they could get in some trouble. Alternatively, Universal could claim they were failing the “inducement” test set out by the Supreme Court — which seems like a difficult argument to make.

However, from the quote, it sounds like he’s accusing both companies of direct infringement themselves, which seems like a tough case to prove, unless there are additional details not yet public. This wouldn’t be the first lawsuit against YouTube for copyright infringement (that happened a few months ago). But that was by a small company. This would be the first by a major entertainment company. However, if it’s true that Universal has actually been negotiating with YouTube (and, perhaps MySpace) on business deals, then it seems likely that this is just a sleazy hardball negotiating tactic to drive the pricing in their favor. If it does actually turn into lawsuits, then it’s just yet another example of the record labels destroying their own business by attacking two of the best promotional vehicles they’ve had in years for copyright infringement they didn’t even do.

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Comments on “Universal Music Publicly Threatens To Sue YouTube, MySpace”

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wayne says:

oh please

i mean why cant these companies leave them alone, i mean dont get me wrong i guess in a sense they all have “rights” to the materials but its the future folks, people just need to chill out and realize that one day every thing and anything can be and WILL be downloaded. uploaded, listened to, watched, and played online, and more then likely free, i mean the internet is such a common way to share videos, stories, and music as is walking to a freinds house and doing it there, every one riaa included needs to stfu and just think of differnt ways to make money

norm says:


Sounds like they just want to sue then buy out those
sites. Just like they did with mp3.com. A bunch of RIAA
companies sued mp3.com over a technicality, which
caused the site’s company to go under, then I think it
was Universal who bought them out.

However, you guys didn’t mention this was a meeting
in front of investers. The wired article makes it sound
much like the SCO-IBM-Linux scandal, except Universal
may have a chance to win the case. I don’t think it is
right, but crazier cases have won…

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