And Here Come The YouTube Copyright Lawsuits

from the had-to-show-up-sooner-or-later dept

Just as some were talking about how YouTube had been able to avoid lawsuits from angry copyright holders (though, they receive plenty of cease-and-desist letters), the EFF is pointing out that a news service in LA is now suing YouTube for copyright infringement. As has been pointed out repeatedly, YouTube has a pretty clear defense against such claims: section 230 of the Communications Decency Act means that a service provider isn't responsible for what its users do with the service. In other words, this guy is going after the wrong target. Rather than suing YouTube, he should be going after whoever uploaded the contested video. It's also unclear from the info available if the guy sent YouTube a takedown notice on the content.

However, the lawyers who filed the lawsuit seem to be focusing on two recent, but well known, cases to support their filing. The first is the Grokster ruling, which said companies could be liable if they were found to induce the infringement in some manner. Secondly, the lawyers claim that there's an even stronger case against YouTube than in Grokster because it's a centralized service -- which suggests they're pointing to similarities with the original Napster, which the courts had problems with due to its centralized nature. However, it may be a very difficult case for this news organization to win. YouTube can make a pretty strong case that they don't do anything to "induce" infringement. In fact, YouTube has worked to stop infringement, and generally has a good reputation for taking down infringing content when notified. Also, the sheer number of legitimate uses and content providers embracing YouTube suggests that it just doesn't have the same emotional response that both Napster and Grokster had. While the case may not go back to the "substantial non-infringing uses" of the Betamax case, it's likely that YouTube's lawyers will make a similar case. Either way, it's likely this will be an important case to watch.
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  1. identicon
    Peter Hayes, 31 Oct 2006 @ 2:36pm

    Youtube lives in cloud couckoo land!

    Answer me this: If Youtube only showed videos made by users how many people would watch? Day after day the most watched videos are the product of other people simply copied and laid on the site. Not only that with "ripper" sites now appearing I can download any of them to my computer.

    If I opened a bookstore would I be able simply buy books shoplifted from one down the street and claim igonorance because the seller told me they hadn't? If a video has a logo on it then you have no agreement with that company then it has to be dubious.

    How can they not know? Have they had their eyes removed?

    The reason why Youtube has got so far is that companies want to sue them for millions - and have a fair chance of getting them. What is the alternative - trying to sell news clips for money, for example? CNN tried that with partners Realplayer - it didn't work.

    Youtube is a break-the-law-and-pay-the-consequences company. That is not what Western law should be about. You make a product you should reap the benefits and control it - not some fly-by-nights who have no artistic skill or have not put a penny in to it.

    Youtube is killing enterprise - if I were to make a short film I know the minute it is broadcast it could appear on Youtube and give me no chance of resale on DVD?

    Yes - lots of people like getting something for nothing (they would like to get everything for nothing!), but that isn't how the world should turn and it won't. Too many people have too much to loose.

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