UMG Recordings, Inc., et al. v. VEOH Networks, Inc., et al

Order Denying UMG’s Motion For Partial Summary Judgment

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Like many other companies that host content on behalf of users, video-hosting service Veoh has been bedeviled by copyright lawsuits. The copyright owners make the same argument in each of these suits: the hosting service should be liable for every infringing bit uploaded by naughty users and responsible for the full cost of policing for infringement. Fortunately, Congress enacted the DMCA's safe harbor provisions back in 1998 to protect service providers from exactly these risks, offering immunity from copyright damages to those who implement a notice-and-takedown system and comply with the other requirements of the law. By reducing the legal uncertainty that would otherwise apply, Congress created the innovation environment that has made YouTube, Flickr, eBay, Blogger, and myriad other hosting-based services possible.

In 2007, Universal Music Group (UMG) sued Veoh in an effort to hold the company responsible based on user's uploading UMG music videos. In 2009, UMG lost, with the court concluding that Veoh was protected by the DMCA safe harbors, and setting an important legal precedent for all user-generated content ("UGC") hosting services. The legal fees, however, helped drive Veoh out of business. Nevertheless, UMG continues to press an appeal against Veoh, trying to overturn the legal precedent and re-write the DMCA safe harbors.

Perhaps most chilling is UMG's assertion that the DMCA safe harbors simply do not apply to any service that "displays" or "distributes" copyrighted material, rather than simply "storing" it. Of course, every web hosting service "displays" and "distributes" the material that its users upload -- that's how the Web works. So if UMG's arguments are accepted, virtually every hosting service would lose the DMCA safe harbors...

...The lawsuit against Veoh is just one of several where major entertainment industries are pressing the courts to re-write the DMCA safe harbors...

Please see full brief below for more information.

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Reference Info:Decision | Federal, 9th Circuit, California | United States


DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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