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.