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
    AvidMovieWatcher, 1 Mar 2008 @ 10:26am

    Oh the Drama!

    Christ! I agree with Troy. If it weren't for those short segment videos on YouTube by amateur artists, a lot of production companies would not have profitted from their purchased movies in my library.

    It's free advertisement for celebrities, authors and musicians. The quality isn't near as good as what you get on DVD, you can't watch a complete movie from it. If someone wants to purchase a movie or music, they're not going to settle for the piss poor quality on YouTube. They're going to go out and buy it. And how many of those amateur artists who upload videos are doing it for a profit? I'd venture to say next to nada. Most do it for no other purpose than entertainment or to show their friends what they can do with material of different venues.

    Chat rooms all over the net sport icons and avatars with celebrity photos. Is there a big boo hoo about that? As long as the uploaders aren't making a profit from the videos, who cares? I pay a good price for my DVD's and my CD's. As long as I'm not using it with malicious intent or trying to make profit from them, it's no one's damn business what I do with them.

    These people suing YouTube need to get over themselves and so do the people bashing YouTube. Here's a novel idea...if you don't like....don't watch it!

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