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
    Damien Morgoth, 29 Jan 2008 @ 1:26am

    Re: Youtube: You want to sue us? Get in Line...

    The thing is there's a contradiction in your statement."The bigger we get the more money we will have." If youtube can earn money, simply on the fuel of their own noteriety, then why can't the artists? It's very vexing. I can't buy the music videos I want because they're not available on Dvd. I can't buy the out-of-print music that I want because, the band's disbanded and the record label has put a stop on all sales of the record. Do you know what this means? It means that if I contacted the artist directly and they had a copy of their cd in their basement, it would be illegal for them to sell it to me. What would I need, an affidavit from the label? But I can watch American Idol, and buy what they tell me like a good little consumer. The thing is, I don't think that the land of opportunity is supporting the individual like you say. It seems to me that the real issue is not so much that the artists are suffering, but rather, the advertising filter is being bypassed. That's what the corperations are really upset about. A million trillion artists could starve to death and it wouldn't bother them one iota, but when we start choosing our own mode of entertainment, then something has to be done!

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