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Blog: Veoh v. Universal Music Case

October 22, 2009 by · Comments Off
Filed under: Business, Copyright Articles, Online Privacy 

 In September, a federal district court ruled that Veoh, a Web video online service provider, was under safe harbor from copyright lawsuits filed by numerous entertainment companies over the past several years.  U.S. District Judge A. Howard Matz ruled that Veoh was not liable for the copyright infringements of its users because of the automated process of uploading the videos to the internet and due to the measures that Veoh undertook to ensure that infringing material was removed from the website as quickly as possible.

Universal Music Group filed the suit against Veoh in 2007 for copyright infringement; however the judge ruled that Veoh was granted protection under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Enacted in 1998, DMCA legislation made it a criminal activity to produce and distribute technology with copyrighted labels. However, within this act there was a safe harbor clause that could be applied to cases such as the one that Veoh represented in the District Courts. This safe harbor clause claims that if online service providers follow certain guidelines, such as immediately taking down infringing material, the online service provider will be safe from copyright liability. Judge Matz ruled that Veoh was immune from liability because they quickly removed infringing material when the owners sent a takedown notice to the online video provider.

While the recession has greatly impacted the success of Veoh’s business, the Veoh court decision has larger ramifications because it can be used as a precedent for YouTube in the $1 billion copyright suit filed by Viacom. YouTube chief counsel Zahavah Levine has stated, “This decision reaffirms the judicial consensus and what we’ve known all along: the DMCA protects services like YouTube.”[i] The suit against YouTube presented by Viacom is not expected to reach trial until next year; however it seems that the precedent for the case has been established by the Veoh case landmark ruling.  That is, Judge Matz’ ruling moves in the direction of boiling them all down to a single test of whether the service provider has immediately and expeditiously complied with the takedown rules.


[i] Sandoval, Greg. “Veoh wins copyright case; YouTube wins, too?” Cnet News. CBS Interactive, 14 Sept. 2009. Web. <http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-10352183-93.html>.

Press Release – NC Lawsuit Against YouTube

June 14, 2009 by · Comments Off
Filed under: Business, Copyright Articles, Online Privacy, Press release, Trademark Articles 

In2Focus Films, Inc. et al. (In2Focus) filed a counterclaim in federal court on June 5, 2009, against Champboat Racing, LLC (Champboat), as well as asserted claims against numerous other parties including: Michael Schriefer, owner of Champboat Racing; Speedway Group, Inc. (Speedway), which is affiliated with Schriefer and Champboat; Seebold Racing, Inc. (Seebold), which is affiliated with Seebold Sports, Inc. and Tim Seebold, a driver in the F1 Champboat Racing Series; Amsoil, Inc. (Amsoil), the 2009 F1 Champboat Racing Series Sponsor; Singha International, Inc. (Singha), a Thailand-based sponsor of the F1 Champboat Racing Series; and Youtube, Inc. (Youtube).

After violating several contractual agreements, ChampBoat distributed In2Focus’s copyrighted video without permission. When In2Focus demanded the removal of these copyright protected video clips, ChampBoat sued In2Focus for tortious interference of contract, among other things. During the law suit, ChampBoat admitted that all multimedia works were owned by In2Focus. The counterclaim alleges that ChampBoat never received payment for the vast majority
of the work performed, due in part to at least one check bouncing due to insufficient funds. The Third Parties published, distributed, and hosted unauthorized copies of In2Focus’s videos.

YouTube, often used as a host for illegal copies of popular videos, provides a streamlined process for content owners to request that videos be taken down. Yet, according to In2Focus, YouTube failed to remove all infringing videos despite notification. In2Focus further claims that Seebold, Amsoil, Singha, and ChampBoat all posted In2Focus’s videos to their web sites knowing that the videos were owned by In2Focus and that their posting of the videos was in violation of In2Focus’s
copyrights.

In2Focus seeks to recover outstanding payments in excess of $100,000 for creative works performed during the 2008 F1 Champboat Racing Series, as well as recovery of actual damages associated with the infringement. The damages include reasonable attorneys’ fees incurred in defending the original suit filed by Champboat. A trial date has not yet been set. In2Focus is represented by the law firm of Bambi Faivre Walters, PC. Champboat is represented by The Bray Law Firm.

DMCA Response from Google: An Example

April 10, 2009 by · Comments Off
Filed under: Copyright Articles, Online Privacy 

Dear [XXXX],

We are in receipt of your attached complaint. Please note that the [description of infringing content]  in question have been removed.

As for the remaining URLs containing allegedly infringing images, please note that we are currently still investigating your case and will contact you when we have completed processing the request. We appreciate your patience during this process.

Please note that a copy of each legal notice we receive is sent to a third-party partner for publication and annotation. As such, your letter (with your personal information removed) will be forwarded to Chilling Effects (http://www.chillingeffects.org ) for publication. You can see an example of such a publication at http://www.chillingeffects.org/dmca512/notice.cgi?NoticeID=861. A link to your published letter will be displayed in Google’s search results in place of the removed content.

In the meantime, we ask that you refrain from continuously sending duplicate complaints of same as this causes delays in our process.

Regards,

The Google Team