Universal Music Publicly Threatens To Sue YouTube, MySpace

from the let's-try-this-again dept

It's most likely that this is a negotiating tactic, since YouTube has indicated that it's been in negotiation with all of the major record labels recently, but Universal Music's CEO was quoted today saying that he believed both YouTube and MySpace were copyright infringers. This shows a willful misunderstanding of the law -- and it's a shame that no one seems to be calling him on this. He knows as well as anyone that neither YouTube nor MySpace are the direct infringers, and that it's only the people who upload copyrighted materials to those sites who are infringing. There are two ways that the companies might be guilty of some form of infringement, but that's not what Doug Morris seemed to be indicating. If they were alerted to unauthorized content on the site and were slow to remove it, they could get in some trouble. Alternatively, Universal could claim they were failing the "inducement" test set out by the Supreme Court -- which seems like a difficult argument to make.

However, from the quote, it sounds like he's accusing both companies of direct infringement themselves, which seems like a tough case to prove, unless there are additional details not yet public. This wouldn't be the first lawsuit against YouTube for copyright infringement (that happened a few months ago). But that was by a small company. This would be the first by a major entertainment company. However, if it's true that Universal has actually been negotiating with YouTube (and, perhaps MySpace) on business deals, then it seems likely that this is just a sleazy hardball negotiating tactic to drive the pricing in their favor. If it does actually turn into lawsuits, then it's just yet another example of the record labels destroying their own business by attacking two of the best promotional vehicles they've had in years for copyright infringement they didn't even do.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    XCetron, Sep 14th, 2006 @ 7:15pm

    I blame all the safety instructions on things, if it werent for those things, the world would have a lot less dumb people by now.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    wayne, Sep 14th, 2006 @ 7:17pm

    oh please

    i mean why cant these companies leave them alone, i mean dont get me wrong i guess in a sense they all have "rights" to the materials but its the future folks, people just need to chill out and realize that one day every thing and anything can be and WILL be downloaded. uploaded, listened to, watched, and played online, and more then likely free, i mean the internet is such a common way to share videos, stories, and music as is walking to a freinds house and doing it there, every one riaa included needs to stfu and just think of differnt ways to make money

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    norm, Sep 14th, 2006 @ 7:49pm


    Sounds like they just want to sue then buy out those
    sites. Just like they did with mp3.com. A bunch of RIAA
    companies sued mp3.com over a technicality, which
    caused the site's company to go under, then I think it
    was Universal who bought them out.

    However, you guys didn't mention this was a meeting
    in front of investers. The wired article makes it sound
    much like the SCO-IBM-Linux scandal, except Universal
    may have a chance to win the case. I don't think it is
    right, but crazier cases have won...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Solipsist, Sep 15th, 2006 @ 1:19am


    Q. What do these 3 industries have in common:
    1. Airlines.
    2. Record Companies
    3. Movie production and distribution.

    A. They all treat their customers like criminals, and are either in bankruptcy, or struggling financially.

    (The airlines, of course, were forced into their situation.)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Sohrab, Sep 15th, 2006 @ 3:13am

    record and film industrys are near bankrupt? Damn. Somebody failed to mention this to me at work...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    MikeR, Sep 15th, 2006 @ 8:06am

    Go to the source

    The music/film industry should stop messing around with these bit players like YouTube et al. and go right to the source of the problem: ARPA (now DARPA). They're the ones who came up with the technology and therefore should be the ones held responsible. My fee for this suggestion is only 1% of any settlement.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Jake, Sep 15th, 2006 @ 9:44am

    Nothing new for UMG...

    This is nothing new for Universal. Back in early 2005, they sent out email warnings to websites who were linking to their videos -- links that UMG's own publicists had sent to the websites -- and told them to remove the links!

    Universal Music Group Video Policy, March 3, 2005.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Music Pirate, Sep 15th, 2006 @ 12:34pm

    Greed Greed Greed! Oh noes, someone uploaded a home video and used our music! We must sue!

    Universal, if you are reading this, kiss my white ass.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    fdfs, Sep 25th, 2007 @ 5:53pm

    I wanna sue utube too

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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