Could the decision to throw out a copyright infringement case against Veoh have an impact on the $1 billion lawsuit Viacom is currently pursuing against YouTube?
The U.S. District Court has dismissed a copyright infringement case in which Io Group alleged Veoh had broken the law by the use of its transcoding method.
DMCA Takedowns Not Sufficient?
Io Group, an adult entertainment company, launched the lawsuit back in 2006 after some of its pornographic material ended up on Veoh due to being uploaded by a user.
Io Group first sent DMCA takedown notices, which were duly and very quickly honoured with the removal of the videos. But that wasn’t enough and it sued Veoh anyway.
Wrong Type Of Transcoding?
The lawsuit alleged that the method of transcoding used by Veoh, with uploaded videos being in the Flash format, meant that Veoh itself was the infringer and in direct control of the material on the site.
According to TechCrunch, Judge Howard Lloyd disagreed.
Judge Howard Lloyd
“Here, Veoh has simply established a system whereby software automatically processes user-submitted content and recasts it in a format that is readily accessible to its users.”
“Veoh preselects the software parameters for the process from a range of default values set by the third party software… But Veoh does not itself actively participate or supervise the uploading of files. Nor does it preview or select the files before the upload is completed.”
“Instead, video files are uploaded through an automated process which is initiated entirely at the volition of Veoh’s users.”
It’s a good thing that the judge saw it this way as every other Flash-based video sharing site operate in exactly the same way. A different judgement could have had wider implications.
But could this judgement have an impact on the other high-profile court case involving video sharing and copyright infringement: Viacom versus YouTube?
PaidContent report that both sides issued statements concerning the result of this court case.
Google obviously came out in support of the judge’s decision:
“It is great to see the Court confirm that the DMCA protects services like YouTube that follow the law and respect copyrights…YouTube has gone above and beyond the law to protect content owners while empowering people to communicate and share their experiences online.”
Viacom, which recently demanded and won access to private YouTube user details, obviously has an altogether different view on the whole thing:
“Even if the Veoh decision were to be considered by other courts, that case does nothing to change the fact that YouTube is a business built on infringement that has failed to take reasonable measures to respect the rights of creators and content owners.”
Google and YouTube have engaged in massive copyright infringement – conduct that is not protected by any law, including the DMCA.”
Common Sense Victory
Unfortunately it seems as though Viacom is right on this score. This case is different enough from the Viacom Vs YouTube to prevent this victory for common sense being used as an industry-wide precedent.
While the dismissal of this case won’t help YouTube in its defence against Viacom, it does at least show that some judges live in the real world.
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