Feeds

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

More evidence, please

Security for virtualized datacentres

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. ®

Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL

More from The Register

next story
JINGS! Microsoft Bing called Scots indyref RIGHT!
Redmond sporran metrics get one in the ten ring
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Murdoch to Europe: Inflict MORE PAIN on Google, please
'Platform for piracy' must be punished, or it'll kill us in FIVE YEARS
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
OECD lashes out at tax avoiding globocorps' location-flipping antics
You hear that, Amazon, Google, Microsoft et al?
Show us your Five-Eyes SECRETS says Privacy International
Refusal to disclose GCHQ canteen menus and prices triggers Euro Human Rights Court action
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.