Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick




More YouTube Money Grab Lawsuits

from the this-again? dept

It really doesn't seem that difficult to understand how YouTube works, but plenty of people keep acting confused and blaming YouTube for things it has no responsibility over. Of course, the cynical take is that these people know exactly how YouTube works, but see this as an easy money grab. Take, for example, the case of a country music publisher that has decided to sue Google/YouTube over the fact that some videos on YouTube contain music they hold a copyright on. They don't seem to acknowledge the fact that there isn't any revenue at risk here. No one is listening to their music in a video on YouTube and deciding not to go buy it. In fact, it's likely the opposite is happening. Second, they're blaming YouTube, rather than the individuals who are actually doing the infringing. Finally (and most amusingly), they're complaining that it's difficult for them to find those who infringe on their copyrights, but don't acknowledge that it's equally difficult for Google to monitor the videos for the exact same reason. The law still remains pretty clear here that Google is well within DMCA safe harbors, but in paying off a few record labels the morning they purchased YouTube, Google opened the door for exactly these kinds of lawsuits.

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  • identicon
    Krum, 11 Jun 2007 @ 1:24am

    No Suprise...

    This isn't that much of a surprise. What's more American than Country Music and suing somebody for whatever reason you see fit?

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

  • identicon
    Mark Bowness, 11 Jun 2007 @ 2:23am

    Yeah, paying off record companies probably did open a huge door for lawsuits, I wonder why they felt justified in doing this, in the hope that it would leave this issue to rest and they would be seen as nice boys?

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

  • identicon
    Sofakingcool, 11 Jun 2007 @ 3:08am

    Seems very normal

    Everyone forgets that if money is available ...... lawyers will be drawn to the feast like the cockroaches they are. It's true in every case. Exactly why insurance ..... medical care are lots of other services cost more than they should. Sorta like an extortion tax ...levied by attorneys.

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

  • identicon
    Ajax 4Hire, 11 Jun 2007 @ 4:13am

    I was watching a funny video youTube today while

    driving my Honda and drinking my Starbucks when the hot coffee fell into my crotch area.

    I think I have grounds for a lawsuit.

    youTube should have better warnings.
    Honda should make cars better able to avoid spill driving.
    Starbucks should 'know' that their coffee is dangerous.

    I am outraged over this egregious corporate behavior; outraged I say!
    and someone should pay, pay, pay!

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Jun 2007 @ 5:55am

    According to Plan?

    I wonder if this isn't going according to plan for Google. If they can establish these kinds of payoffs as the norm in the video forum business then they can raise the bar for entry high enough to keep most potential competitors out.

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

  • identicon
    Lewis Salem, 11 Jun 2007 @ 7:12am

    Youtube has about six more months left, then we're going to have to build something new.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Jun 2007 @ 7:52am

    Hosting Content

    Legally speaking, and someone will tell me if I'm wrong, isn't YouTube breaking copyright by hosting the copyrighted material? As opposed to P2P networks where the network doesn't host the content...

    Now, the point is valid that the actual loss of revenue is effectively zero, so YouTube probably shouldn't be liable for anything.

    but isn't illegal to HOST the copyrighted content? If so, what about videos that have copyrighted music in the background?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 Jun 2007 @ 8:01am

      Re: Hosting Content

      but isn't illegal to HOST the copyrighted content?
      In the US all content is automatically copyrighted as soon as it is created and you can't make content that isn't.

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

    • identicon
      emichan, 11 Jun 2007 @ 12:38pm

      Re: Hosting Content

      Legally speaking, and someone will tell me if I'm wrong, isn't YouTube breaking copyright by hosting the copyrighted material? As opposed to P2P networks where the network doesn't host the content...

      Under the safe harbor provision of the DMCA, it is not illegal to host infringing material, as long as you provide a means for copyright holders to notify you of infringing material and then act on that notification if it is legitimate. The host is not held directly responsible for material that it hosts - the person who uploaded it is the rightful person to bear that responsibility.

      To give an example, let's say you have a personal home page hosted by some third party host, like yahoo or some other hosting service, and you upload a video of some infringing content, say pirates of the caribbean. Then, if somebody at disney finds the video, they should notify your host that they are hosting infringing material. Now, if they are good hosts, they will in turn notify you and allow you to remedy it or defend it as fair use. If they are bad hosts, they may take down the video or your whole site and not even tell you. (which means it's time to pray you have a back-up of your site, and go find a new host ;)) In either case, as long as they act upon the notification, your host bears no responsibility for the infringement under the law - you do.

      If hosts were directly responsible for the material they hosted, it would basically cripple third-party hosting companies, search engines, discussion boards, and lots of other things that make the internet worth using.

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

  • identicon
    Jimbo, 11 Jun 2007 @ 8:42am

    I think the people who are suing YouTube understand perfectly well how it works.

    YouTube is providing a venue which some people use to distribute copyrighted material in a manner which the copyright owner doesn't approve of.

    As far as there not being a "risk" to revenue, Google paid $1.6B for something of value - and some percentage of that value was generated by copyrighted material, none of which went to the owners of the content

    Regardless of the compensation issue maybe the owners should have some say over how their content is delivered. Perhaps they don't want their work distributed in a grainy, 4-square inch frame with wobbly sound because they think this inherently degrades the work's quality.

    I don't believe dismissing these suits out-of-hand is justified.

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

    • icon
      Mike (profile), 11 Jun 2007 @ 10:36am

      Re:


      YouTube is providing a venue which some people use to distribute copyrighted material in a manner which the copyright owner doesn't approve of.


      But they are not the ones doing the infringement. Please read section 230 of the CDA.

      As far as there not being a "risk" to revenue, Google paid $1.6B for something of value - and some percentage of that value was generated by copyrighted material, none of which went to the owners of the content

      The value is the service of hosting videos for free. It's not the content, since Google doesn't own the content.

      If you think Google is at fault here, then every web hosting company is now guilty of copyright infringement.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 Jun 2007 @ 11:03am

      Re:

      YouTube is providing a venue which some people use to distribute copyrighted material in a manner which the copyright owner doesn't approve of.
      And the electric company is providing electricity "which some people use to distribute copyrighted material in a manner which the copyright owner doesn't approve of." So what's your point?

      Regardless of the compensation issue maybe the owners should have some say over how their content is delivered. Perhaps they don't want their work distributed in a grainy, 4-square inch frame with wobbly sound because they think this inherently degrades the work's quality.
      And perhaps they don't want their work's perceived quality degraded by being viewed by those with poor eyesight. Or maybe they don't want their work viewed by person's of certain colors or religions or genders either. Luckily, they can't always get what they want.

      I don't believe dismissing these suits out-of-hand is justified.
      It's not only justified, it's exactly what should happen.

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

  • identicon
    New Country Lyrics, 11 Jun 2007 @ 10:32am

    -Wife ran off
    -Dog done died
    -Music being distributed without royalty payments on Google and YouTube


    If Hank Williams' no talent namesake grandson doesn't have him spinning in his grave, this would.

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

  • identicon
    DFAL, 11 Jun 2007 @ 11:23am

    YouTube: Free Advertising

    Copyright laws must be followed. As it stands, sites like YouTube only have to remove copyrighted materials after being notified by a DMCA complaint (I believe).

    However, YouTube, and every other video site, must know that when someone uploads an episode of Scrubs that the odds are they don't have the legal right to do so. It's a legal loophole.

    As for the lawsuit, I thought you had to prove damages in court to get a monetary award. I'm no lawyer, obviously.

    The real problem is that these media companies are still doing business the old way. They should look to YouTube as a free vehicle to market their products instead of trying to shut down something that really does no economic damage.

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


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