Feeds

Proto- YouTube copyright suit lives on to darken another Google day

More evidence, please

The essential guide to IT transformation

You win some, you lose some - and sometimes simultaneously.

YouTube suffered a setback last week when a judge refused to grant it pre-trial judgment in the first copyright lawsuit directed against the video-sharing site, but it dodged a bullet when the judge also declined to grant the plaintiff's similar motion seeking to destroy YouTube's primary legal defense in the case.

And considering that YouTube has asserted the same defense in the Viacom infringement suit, that could have been one expensive bullet.

The plaintiff in the current case, Robert Tur, has, in addition to an award-winning career as a video journalist in Los Angeles, the dubious distinction of being the first person to sue YouTube for copyright infringement. Tur alleges that YouTube became liable for infringement after its users posted clips of Tur's well-known footage showing OJ Simpson's white Bronco ride, as well as Tur's shots of rioters during the Rodney King uproar bashing truck driver Reginald Denny on the head with a brick.

Both sides of the suit argued that the facts were so clearly on their side that they deserved early judgment. A federal district court judge in California disagreed, however, and struck down both parties' motions, holding that neither side had presented sufficient evidence to show that they were clearly entitled to victory.

Tur claimed that YouTube could not enjoy the protection of a Digital Millennium Copyright Act provision that protects websites from monetary liability for infringing activities by their users. Websites must meet some fairly rigid requirements to qualify for the DMCA protection, and Tur based his motion on the argument that, because YouTube displays banner ads during the playback of the allegedly infringing posts, it receives a direct financial benefit from the supposed infringement and cannot enjoy the DMCA's safe harbor.

The judge stated in her opinion that Tur had presented no evidence, despite numerous opportunities, showing that YouTube had the right and ability to control the allegedly infringing activity - a necessary prerequisite for a finding of a direct financial benefit.

Conversely, the judge also ruled that the evidence concerning YouTube's management of the material on its site was insufficiently developed for the court to make a determination that YouTube did not have the right and ability to control the allegedly infringing activity. Thus, the judge could not definitely declare that YouTube did in fact qualify for the DMCA safe harbor.

Now the litigation will shift into an evidence discovery phase, and YouTube has two main options: it can either make the discovery process nice and simple so it can battle over the legal points in court with little delay or expense . . . or it can make the discovery contentious, expensive and painful for the plaintiff in the hope that he will break and agree to a settlement whereby YouTube avoids anything even slightly resembling an admission of liability.

Taking the former approach would give YouTube a chance to iron out its legal strategies for fighting infringement suits; taking the latter approach would get rid of a relatively small lawsuit and allow YouTube to focus its legal resources on the 800-pound gorilla named Viacom that's sitting in a federal court in New York.

Either way, the fight now enters the second round. And either way, it's going to get bloody. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
'Stop dissing Google or quit': OK, I quit, says Code Club co-founder
And now a message from our sponsors: 'STFU or else'
Ex US cybersecurity czar guilty in child sex abuse website case
Health and Human Services IT security chief headed online to share vile images
Don't even THINK about copyright violation, says Indian state
Pre-emptive arrest for pirates in Karnataka
The police are WRONG: Watching YouTube videos is NOT illegal
And our man Corfield is pretty bloody cross about it
Felony charges? Harsh! Alleged Anon hackers plead guilty to misdemeanours
US judge questions harsh sentence sought by prosecutors
Oz biz regulator discovers shared servers in EPIC FACEPALM
'Not aware' that one IP can hold more than one Website
Apple tried to get a ban on Galaxy, judge said: NO, NO, NO
Judge Koh refuses Samsung ban for the third time
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.