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
    YouTuber, 17 Jul 2006 @ 7:58pm

    Re: Mostly Infringing, except for

    Aparently you've never actually browsed around the site yourself Amos. While there is plenty of copyrighted material on there, even I've been waiting for a lawsuit to pop up, there's an enormous amount of completely legal movies. If you've ever bothered to actually LOOK at the new movies posted every hour the majority (even if a slim one at times [although rather large at others]) of them there are legit. There's also a ten minute cap on the length of the clips. If the kids during your computer lab are only watching copyrighted material when there are hoards of other material then that falls straight under
    section 230 mentioned above.

    Now, about the lawsuit, I'm wondering if YouTube's one big downfall in such a case would be Anonymous posting... as there is no verification of any sort, just IPs (which don't actually point out a specific user as we know from suits that have backfired against the riaa) does this put them at any more of a risk?

    Anyways, I don't see this as being anywhere near the extent of Napster... these are small segments we're talking about... not an endless supply of any and practically all music and movies that your heart desires.

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