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
    Ryan, 16 Mar 2007 @ 12:18am

    Benefits of infringement

    OK- I tried to dig up an old source I used for a paper in college, but I could not find it. I have no reason to make up this fact, but seeing as how it debunks the arguments of some of you YouTube haters, I don't expect this to sit very well without a reference.

    Regardless... in either 1999 OR 2001 (the detail I cannot remember), more movies were illegally downloaded than EVER in the history of this world. However, box offices saw their best sales since the 50's considering inflation.

    But... that... does... not... make....... I must be lying.

    Either way- outside of 2005, box office sales have been on a steady increase since the early nineties- right about the time the internet was popularized. Again- that's counterintuitive to some of you. Point being, YouTube is a negligible threat, if any at all.

    I personally have never downloaded any copyrighted material from YouTube, nor have any of my friends or colleagues suggested I do so. Rather, I have discovered dozens of creative artists that would have stood no chance in this 'bottom line' entertainment industry we have today.

    If YouTube is a threat, it is because they are putting the power back into the hands of the artist. Maybe people are tired of the million dollar piece of $h!t products (iRobot... for example) and now favor the fifteen cent closet productions of truly creative people. If I was a multi-millionaire in the entertainment industry, I'd be a little scared too.

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