Universal stalled in action against Veoh

February 2009


A copyright action launched by Universal Music against YouTube rival Veoh has hit a snag after a US judge ruled on the obligations that the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 puts on video sharing sites like YouTube and Veoh regarding the posting, by punters, of content without the content owner’s permission. The video sharing services, although they do frequently host infringing content on their servers, usually have in place a system whereby content owners such as record labels can complain if their copyrights are infringed and infringing content is quickly removed and so users lose access to the infringing content once it is done. The sites argue that under the DMCA they are not guilty of infringement, even though they may host infringing content from time to time. The content owners don’t agree and are looking for better protection saying it is wrong that content owner have to constantly monitor every single video website on the planet. The parallel action of Viacom v YouTube has the MTV owner suing theGoogle’s YouTube on the basis they are not doing enough to stop content from their various TV channels from being posted online without Viacom’s permission. The sites use the DCMA’s ‘safe harbor’ provisions that says those who simply host digital content on behalf of users can not be held liable if a customer uploads unlicensed content to their servers. The DCMA provision was primarily put in place to protect those companies who offer remote digital storage facilities ort sometimes telecom services but is used by sites such as YouTube and Veoh. Universal argued that as consumer’s uploads to Veoh were ‘transcoded’ by Veoh they could not be covered by safe harbvour and Veoh was guilt of infringement. However a previous claim by porn owners the Lo Group had unsuccessfully argued against safe harbor in their case against Veoh and now the US courts have rejected Universal’s version of the argument too, strengthening the video site’s defence against infringement charges made by content owners such as Universal.


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