Veoh Gets Another DMCA Safe Harbor Win, This Time Against Universal Music

from the good-decisions dept

You may recall that last year, the video hosting website Veoh had a big win when a court ruled that the site was protected by DMCA safe harbors from infringement committed by users. Of course, that particular lawsuit was only one of a few that Veoh is involved in. In a separate case, brought by Universal Music Group, UMG made some somewhat twisted arguments as to why Veoh shouldn't qualify for DMCA safe harbor protections. Basically, it said that Veoh gave up its safe harbors by creating copies of the video in transforming their format and creating copies that were in smaller "chunks" than the original. UMG also went out on a limb claiming that the fact that users could stream videos and download whole videos also took away their safe harbor protections. It's hard to see how those arguments make any sense at all, and it sounds like UMG lawyers were just throwing every possible argument against the wall, knowing they had little to work with.

The good news is that the judge has rejected all of those arguments, saying none of them seemed to mean Veoh gave up its safe harbor protections. The lawsuit isn't over yet, and the court hasn't ruled on whether Veoh (overall) is protected by the DMCA, but in rejecting UMG's weakly reasoned arguments for why Veoh had given up those protections, it suggests that Veoh is likely to prevail here too.
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Filed Under: dmca, safe harbor
Companies: universal music, veoh


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  1. identicon
    Michial, 6 Jan 2009 @ 4:09am

    I can see some of the arguement

    I understand the reasons for the safe harbor provisions, but there has to be a point when a site owner must take responsibility for what they host on their site. Hiding behind "I didn't put it there so it's not my problem" type arguments is rediculous.

    In this case I can see how voeh taking a supplied video and modifying the format or changing the length etc could be construed as a seperate infringement on the copyright owners rights.

    If I make a copy of a movie from a friends illegal copy am I not also responsible for copyright infringement? Yes I am, so by them taking the supplied version and modifying that supplied version they two are now infringing on the rights of the owner.

    Their arguement would have to be that the process is automated, and every supplied video goes through the same modifications, and they would need to hope that the judge sees it as this one did.

    In my opinion this judge has set a pretty bad situation, he is basically setting the ground for making it legal for me to make/own a copy of any illegally copied video as long as I am not the person that made that first copy.

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