Premier League, Jealous Of Viacom, Sues YouTube As Well
from the sue-sue-sue! dept
Nick writes in to let us know that the Premier League, in the UK (football/soccer, depending on where you are) has decided to sue Google/YouTube for copyright infringement. Nick has his own analysis, but there are a number of interesting (or silly, depending on your perspective) things about the case. First off, it was almost exactly two years ago that we were surprised to hear the Premier League suggest that it needed to sue fans who were streaming its games online (pre-YouTube days). Here were fans who were so interested in following what was going on that they’d watch games online and help promote it to others who had no way of watching the games, and the best the Premier League could do was threaten to sue? That seemed backwards. Last year, the Premier League popped up again, complaining about videos on YouTube. However, while again it seemed like bad marketing to go after fans who are promoting your sport, we figured it was at least a positive that the Premier League wasn’t so silly as to blame YouTube for the actions of its users. Apparently, we spoke too soon.
If anything, this is probably a reaction to Viacom’s $1 billion lawsuit against Google/YouTube. The Premier League figured it might get a piece of that, or at least hope that Google would be willing to settle. Of course, Google’s defense should be the same as it was for Viacom. The Premier League makes one different argument — which is that it tried to use the anti-piracy tools provided by Google, and they didn’t work. It’s hard to see how the fact that the tools don’t work very well is illegal. There is no magic bullet that can stop unauthorized copies — so every “anti-piracy” tool won’t work entirely. That’s hardly something to sue over. The other difference is that the Premier League is looking to have the case declared as a class action suit, so that all copyright holders can get at Google in one shot. If this succeeds, then it seems likely that it will shut down YouTube, destroying one of the most effective promotional vehicles the Premier League has had in years. It’s hard to see how that’s beneficial for anyone.