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Fox sinks teeth into YouTube

Subpoena demands name of Simpsons uploader

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20th Century Fox yesterday served YouTube with a subpoena demanding the company reveal the identity of a user who "uploaded copies of entire recent episodes of primetime series 24 and The Simpsons", Reuters reports.

The subpoena - filed on 18 January on the basis of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act - was granted by the US District Court for the Northern District of California. It relates in part to episodes of 24 which "actually appeared on YouTube prior to their primetime 14 January premiere on the Fox broadcast network".

The user in question is identified as "ECOtotal", although his or her account has now been suspended. Whether the offending material has been removed is unclear, Reuters notes. A spokesman for YouTube "declined comment", the agency adds.

According to Fox Entertainment Group vice-president Jane Sunderland's testimony, "the uploaded material could cause Fox irreparable harm".

Back in November last year, Google CEO Eric Schmidt "denied that his company had set aside $500m to settle copyright claims by media companies" against YouTube as the German Society for Musical Performing and Mechanical Reproduction Rights demanded the site "delete all videos with non-licensed German music", or cough up royalties.

In October, YouTube deleted 29,549 copyright-busting files following pressure from the Japan Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers. ®

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