Universal Music Finally Sues Video Sites... Just Not YouTube

from the who-else-can-we-sue? dept

A month ago, Universal Music Group head honcho Doug Morris threatened to sue YouTube and MySpace, claiming that both companies owed UMG a lot of money for all the videos on those sites that used UMG music. As we noted at the time, this seemed mainly like a negotiating ploy -- and it worked. The same day that Google bought YouTube for $1.65 billion, YouTube signed deals with Universal Music Group and a variety of other content providers. However, that was apparently just the beginning for Morris and UMG. They're not happy about all the other video sites out there who haven't agreed to pay up. Now they've finally pulled the trigger and filed lawsuits against smaller sites Bolt.com and Grouper, which was just acquired by Sony. They're pushing for the maximum, claiming each view is an infringement worth $150,000 (the upper boundary of what they can claim). Of course, the DMCA has said that the sites aren't responsible for what their users do, so to get around that, UMG's lawyers are playing a word game to make it seem like these sites have much more control over the content than they really do. They accuse the sites of "copying, reformatting, distributing and creating derivative works from Universal's musicians." Of course, all of that is done automatically as part of the platform, rather than as a conscious decision of anyone at these sites -- which makes it seem like a pretty big stretch to think that the DMCA protections shouldn't work here. Still, the bigger issue, honestly, is UMG's inability to recognize that they're probably doing a lot more damage to their own business here than helping it. Music videos have always been about promotions. They promote the band and the music and get people to buy CDs, go see concerts or get them involved in a variety of other business models. So, here are a bunch of people trying to do Universal's promotions job for them... for free... and Universal is trying to sue them and kill off the promotional value of its own content.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. icon
    MadJo (profile), Oct 17th, 2006 @ 3:55pm

    huh promotional value?

    What do you mean? I have to give away something for free, so I can get more sales? I don't understand this hippy-talk you are babbling, SECURITY!
    --- anonymous UMG manager

    I can just hear it now.
    The music industry has just completely lost it...

    And why even that high a number for each viewing?
    I'm sure MTV would love to pay that amount of money to play the tracks on their music stations, for *each viewer*... [/sarcasm]
    Don't these music-head-honchos notice, how moronic they sound, when they are trying to defend this tactic?

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

  2. identicon
    chucklebutte, Oct 17th, 2006 @ 3:57pm

    making sense

    mike stop making sense please you are scaring me... lmao

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

  3. identicon
    Sohrab, Oct 17th, 2006 @ 3:59pm

    So is google going to have to pay Sony BMG now too cause some of their music might be used on YouTube

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

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 17th, 2006 @ 4:04pm


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

  5. identicon
    Michael, Oct 17th, 2006 @ 4:25pm

    Broken record... Why do I keep this site on my feed list again? I can't seem to recall....

    First post!

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

  6. identicon
    Eeqmcsq, Oct 17th, 2006 @ 4:28pm

    Free publicity

    And these lawsuits are just going to give more free publicity to these other lesser known sites.

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

  7. identicon
    Mr. X, Oct 17th, 2006 @ 4:40pm

    Surprise! Another

    TechDirt: More "we think the entertainment industry is stupid" articles than anyone on the planet. That's our promise to you!

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

  8. identicon
    Rick, Oct 17th, 2006 @ 7:09pm

    Geee Go figure

    Has nothing to do with rights infringment. Its all a money game, as long as they can get every dime squeezed out of evey little video clip or song clip, they will do it. They dont care about artists rights anymore then they do our rights. It wont stop till people stop putting things like videos and song s on their sites and web pages, and you know that will never happen. We as a people dont care who has to pay for it as long as it is not us. And when youtube and myspace decide to charge us, cause they have to pay up, then we complain. Its a no win, fix it or live with it, stop complaining about it if you wont do anything about it.

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

  9. identicon
    Tashi, Oct 17th, 2006 @ 8:24pm

    That's why I haven't bought a CD since 2000. I have my own digital studio and I use my own music for all my projects, from the web to my amateur films.

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

  10. identicon
    discojohnson, Oct 18th, 2006 @ 8:21am

    real reason is....

    ....precidence. it's easier to knock over a giant after you've beat up his posse.

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

  11. identicon
    ********** *********, Nov 1st, 2006 @ 11:05am

    Pissed off local

    This sucks dick!!! Why the fuck are these fagots always trying to censor the good shit? Come on!!!

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

  12. identicon
    Jeffrey, Nov 1st, 2006 @ 11:08am

    Re: Pissed off local

    Hey, your right... Not just about the censorship, but by what these people are trying to do to our entertainment or fun.

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