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Veoh files pre-emptive copyright lawsuit

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Video sharing site Veoh Networks has filed a pre-emptive lawsuit against Universal Music Group (UMG), requesting that the courts prevent UMG from suing it for copyright infringement.

Veoh has copyright infringing material aplenty on its site, but argues that it's entitled to "safe harbour" provisions because it doesn't encourage infringement (although it hardly needs to) and it helps monitor infringement (but not very well).

UMG, the world's biggest record company, struck a deal with Google's YouTube service last year after first threatening to sue it. Google has said YouTube will introduce software that identifies copyright infringement next month.

AT&T has vowed to fight infringement too, using deep packet inspection to root out P2P sharers. All are moves which weaken the "safe harbour" defence - hence Veoh's desire to see the principle (which doesn't really apply in many jurisdictions outside the US) strengthened.

However, even in the land of the frivolous lawsuit, the courts are unlikely to favour a case that restricts the enforcement of property rights. And lawyers, who can rarely agree on anything, will be united in their view that more lawsuits are undoubtedly a good thing for everyone. ®

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