TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Another YouTube Copyright Lawsuit Filed

Another YouTube Copyright Lawsuit Filed

Michael Kahn and Eric Auchard (
Fri, 04 May 2007 18:28:45 -0500

Premier League soccer sues YouTube over copyright
By Michael Kahn and Eric Auchard

Plaintiffs including English soccer's Premier League sued Google
Inc.'s YouTube on Friday for copyright infringement, the second such
legal challenge to the popular video site in two months.

According to court documents filed in the U.S. District Court for the
Southern District of New York, the Football Association Premier League
Ltd, better known as the English Premier League, and music publisher
Bourne Co. sued YouTube.

The lawsuit charges that YouTube deliberately encourages massive
copyright infringement on its Web site to generate public attention
and boost traffic. This has resulted in the loss of valuable content,
the complaint said.

"Defendants, which own and operate the Web site, have
knowingly misappropriated and exploited this valuable property for
their own gain without payment or license to the owners of the
intellectual property," the lawsuit said.

Google declined to comment. YouTube officials said they were working
on a comment.

The complaint echoes accusations made in March by media conglomerate
Viacom Inc., which filed a similar suit against YouTube and Google for
over $1 billion in damages.

Google has denied those claims and said the Viacom suit threatens the
way people legitimately exchange information and entertainment on the

Lawyers for the Premier League said YouTube provided access to a tool
against copyright infringement, but charged that it was "fraught" with
problems and that YouTube should do more.

"Its account has on some occasions been blocked or closed," the
lawsuit said. "In the meantime, the Premier League has been forced to
send time-consuming and ineffectual notices of infringement to


James McQuivey, a media analyst at Forrester, said the latest
complaint was interesting because the plaintiffs had tried to use the
tool provided to prevent copyright infringement.

But the lawsuit does not likely signal a wider move in the media
community against YouTube, McQuivey said.

More worrying for Google and YouTube would have been a lawsuit from a
second major entertainment company or a big cable television network,
he added.

"This is a small complaint in this process," McQuivey said. "It means
woes for Google's legal team, but provides satisfaction it is not
another major player."

The latest lawsuit seeks a court-ordered injunction to prohibit the
defendants from continuing to violate various copyright protection
laws and unspecified monetary damages.

It accuses YouTube of deliberately facilitating copyright infringement
to build traffic to the site and lists a number of sports matches
between Arsenal, Manchester United, Chelsea, Tottenham and others.

The complaint, which seeks class-action status, also says that Google
was aware of this pattern of infringement when it paid $1.65 billion
to buy YouTube and subsequently saw an increase of around $4 billion
in Google's market value.

A copy of the complaint can be viewed at

The Premier League and Bourne have retained U.S. law firm, Proskauer
Rose LLP, known for representing media companies and sports teams, and
class-action firm Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann LLP.

Google shares closed down $2.11 at $471.12 on the Nasdaq.

Copyright 2007 Reuters Limited.

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