Monday, September 14, 2009

Court grants summary judgment for Veoh in Universal Music Group copyright suit; says web video site protected by DMCA safe harbor

In a big win for web hosts, a federal court in Los Angeles has granted summary to Veoh in a copyright suit brought by several Universal Music Group entities, ruling that the web video host is protected by the safe harbor in Section 512(c) of the DMCA, and thus not liable for infringing uploads by its users.
UMG v. Veoh summary judgment order
From my quick read of the opinion, it appears to be a total victory for Veoh, which won a similar suit in 2008 brought by an adult film producer called Io Group. While this district court opinion does not bind any other courts, it will surely be examined closely by the litigants and Judge Stanton in the massive Viacom v. YouTube suit pending in New York.

More later after I've had a chance to digest the opinion.

UPDATE: Here's UMG's official statement in response to the ruling:
The ruling today is wrong because it runs counter to established precedent and legislative intent, and to the express language of the DMCA. Because of this and our commitment to protecting the rights of our artists and songwriters who deserve to be compensated for the use of their music, we will appeal this ruling immediately.

The balance between copyright holders and technology that Congress sought in enacting the DMCA has been upended by this decision.


  1. I'm failing to see how the ruling 'runs rounter to precedent and legislative intent'. The intent of the DMCA is to protect providers like Veoh *if* they adhere to the safe harbor principles. Veoh has been shown (for the third time, now) to have adhered and the judge ruled in their favour. I understand how the DMCA was written when the YouTubes and Veohs of this world were not around and that they possibly represent a new way of handling and distributing content which the DMCA was not designed to handle - but a Federal judge is going to implement the legislation as it stands, not create exceptions.

  2. So, UMG, how is this decision wrong? You don't say how. I'm waiting for you to get rejected in the appellate court too.

    Stop trying to stifle innovation, UMG. Get with the program and protect your own content using the mechanisms in the DMCA. And do not expect others to spend unreasonable effort in protecting it for you.


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