Veoh Shuts Down; What Happens To The Lawsuit?
from the that's-not-good dept
Veoh was one of a number of online video YouTube-wannabes that, despite being connected to Michael Eisner and raising money from Time Warner and Goldman Sachs, never got very much actual traction… and… got tangled up in a lawsuit with Universal Music pretty quickly over alleged copyright infringement, despite Veoh abiding by the DMCA. Every single step of the way, Veoh basically won big in the lawsuit. Time and time again, every trick that Universal Music tried — including suing Veoh’s investors directly, was rejected by the judge, and the final ruling late last year was that Veoh abided by the DMCA and was protected by its safe harbors from Universal Music’s lawsuit. It was a complete victory.
The only problem? Veoh spent a lot of time, money and effort on this lawsuit, and no one was using Veoh.
I’d heard about a month ago that the company was flat broke, but that it had a good chance of raising more money to continue fighting the appeal from Universal Music… but it looks like that fell through. The company has laid off everyone and is shutting down. Those involved with the company are blaming Universal Music… and certainly it’s tempting to blame UMG and this pointless lawsuit, which definitely sucked up a ton of resources. But, let’s also face facts: no one was using Veoh. When was the last time you were sent a Veoh video? I get sent videos on YouTube, Hulu, Vimeo and even DailyMotion every so often. But I can’t recall ever hearing about a Veoh video.
Still, with the company declaring bankruptcy, I’m not quite sure what this would mean for Universal’s appeal in the lawsuit. While the company was a total flop, the district court ruling last year set a very important precedent in clearly stating that the DMCA’s safe harbors did protect such sites (like YouTube) as long as they complied with the takedown process. Without a company to continue fighting what happens to the appeal? I’m not that familiar with how bankruptcy plays into such lawsuits, so any lawyers here want to chime in and let us know….
Update: Surprised that no one actually answered this question in the comments, but thankfully Eriq Gardner from THR, Esq. has a post explaining what happens to the lawsuit now in all probability:
If Veoh declares Chapter 7, a bankruptcy judge would issue an automatic stay in the case. UMG would likely file a motion with the bankruptcy court seeking relief from the stay to perfect its appeal. The trustee would engage legal counsel and make financial arrangements to cover the costs of defending the case before the 9th Circuit.
We’re betting that all of this happens. The requiem on Veoh is now being written, but the company could continue to play a significant role in helping shape copyright liability for tech companies. (We wouldn’t even be surprised to see Google acquire Veoh just so it could share in the fun of the action.)