March 9, 2006 5:18 PM PST

American Airlines subpoenas Google, YouTube

American Airlines is demanding that Google and video-sharing site YouTube reveal the name of the person who posted a portion of one of the airline's training videos on their Web sites.

Someone uploaded part of a video used to train flight attendants on YouTube and Google Video. The airline subpoenaed those companies on Feb. 21 under the controversial Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), according to airline spokesman Tim Wagner. Under the provisions of the DMCA, companies have the right to request information in the event that their copyright materials are infringed upon.

The video in question, titled "Flight Attendant, Upside Down," is under copyright, Wagner said.

Fatter bandwidth and the popularity of Apple Computer's video-playing iPods are driving a video-sharing craze on the Net. The trend has also rung alarms in the halls of movie and television studios. Entertainment companies have begun to aggressively use copyright law to protect their property. Stuck in the middle are Internet service providers and hosting sites that must walk the line between protecting their users' privacy and adhering to copyright law.

Responding to questions about the subpoena, Google said in an e-mail that the company "complies with valid and appropriate legal process, including subpoenas."

But the search engine giant informed American Airlines that it needs time to investigate the matter before giving up the name. Both Google and YouTube have asked American Airlines to file its request in court. Despite the requests, legal experts expect both companies to eventually comply with the subpoenas.

Cindy Cohn, legal director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, an Internet privacy advocate, supported the decision by the companies to look into the matter before handing over the information.

"Whoever put the video up should be allowed the right to give his or her side of the story," Cohn said.

Julie Supan, a YouTube spokeswoman, declined to comment directly on the American Airlines subpoena. She noted that YouTube's user agreement specifically prohibits posting copyrighted materials by anyone else other than the owner.

"In our privacy agreement, we say that we'll cooperate with U.S. state and federal law," Supan said.

See more CNET content tagged:
subpoena, copyright law, airline, YouTube, DMCA

14 comments

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What is Google's involvement?
The article doesn't make clear what Google has to do with this...YouTube.com isn't owned by Google (is it?)...it seems to have been started Paypal folks. You don't need to use Google to use YouTube.com ... what's the link? Google and YouTube have received funding from Sequoia Capital but thats the only link I can find.
Posted by KsprayDad (375 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Google Video?
I would assume that the video managed to pop up on Google Video.
Posted by Mike Maloney (7 comments )
Link Flag
Re-read the opening paragraph...
"Someone uploaded part of a video used to train flight attendants on YouTube and Google Video."

Note that they said "Google Video" (<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://video.google.com/" target="_newWindow">http://video.google.com/</a>) not just "Google." (<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.google.com/" target="_newWindow">http://www.google.com/</a>). The only connection mentioned in the story between the two companies is that the same video was uploaded to both places. It could just as easily have been Google Video and Kazaa (or any other file sharing service).
Posted by blanning (1 comment )
Link Flag
Sorry.
I'm either going blind and missed the Google Video comment or C:net made that change when they did the update!
Posted by KsprayDad (375 comments )
Link Flag
Eh?
With so much entertainment out there, it boggles the mind as to why anyone would even bother to watch something so boring as a training video.
Posted by R. U. Sirius (745 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Well.
You know how it is with the youth flight-attendant culture. Always looking for ways to break into the industry. It's less about what you know than it is about WHO you know, though, so I'm not sure that watching this video will help these kids all that much.
Posted by mrorie (81 comments )
Link Flag
Perhaps...
the video reveals some incriminating information that does not shed a favorable light on American Airlines. I for one would like to see the video now.

The quality of service provided by the airlines in the US has dropped into the toilet since 9/11. While part of that is attributable to eking out a profit, more often than not, the airlines claim that reduced quality is due to higher security requirements.

The service is so customer unfriendly now I'm at the point where I may get my pilot credentials current again so I can fly myself where I need to go.
Posted by (63 comments )
Link Flag
Post a link to video?
Surely someone has it by now? Where can we see this awful video that is making news?

KM
Posted by kieranmullen (1070 comments )
Reply Link Flag
IPOD?? Are you serious? Stream!!!
I don't get it, where do you come up with this? It Ipod has music and video then it must have been the basis of everything music and video!!! YouTube is stream none-the-less through Flash, My ipod doesn't do flash. YouTube is popular simply because people can post whatever videos they want and easy. Video blogging maybe the term.
Posted by chrisfrary (115 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Post a link to video?
Surely someone has it by now? Where can we see this awful video that is making news?

KM
Posted by kieranmullen (1070 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Post a link to video?
Surely someone has it by now? Where can we see this awful video that is making news?

KM
Posted by kieranmullen (1070 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Miami Herald Article with Links
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/14076044.htm" target="_newWindow">http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/14076044.htm</a>

This is a great article with links to video
Posted by gdozmoziz (1 comment )
Link Flag
The difference between "Copyrighted" and "Claimed to be Copyrighted"
"Julie Supan, a YouTube spokeswoman, declined to comment directly on the American Airlines subpoena. She noted that YouTube's user agreement specifically prohibits posting copyrighted materials by anyone else other than the owner."

OK - I am in violation of the UA when I upload a video which I do not own the copyright to. Just because AA CLAIMS that they own the copyright that does not mean they do. The uploader must FIRST be informed of the claim and allowed to dispute it before any action should be taken. In fact, unless the UA specifically states that the CLAIM (by anyone) that uploaded content is copyrighted by that person is adequate to trigger a UA violation by the uploader, the UA can not be held to have been violated until the uploader is given a chance to dispute the claim.

In fact, I can see a situation where AA may own the copyright but the upload is still legal even if it was not done by AA or with their permission. This is based on who created the video and under what conditions. If it was created by an out-side service (as opposed to internally by AA) and was not done as a "Work-for-Hire" with a 100% copyright to the video being granted to AA (only an exclusive licence), than the maker may still retain a copyright and be allowed to display it (such as in their "work portfolio") or as in this case Upload it (assuming that the uploader WAS the maker). Note that I am not claiming that this is the case but only presenting it as a possible scenario. Even if it is true, this fact would only be evident IF/WHEN the uploader was given a change to dispute AA's claim before action was taken SOLELY based on AA's claim that a violation had occurred.
Posted by rarpsl (34 comments )
Reply Link Flag
USPTO
I was under the notion from the USPTO that copyright is invoked when presented on the media...ie:

Copyright 2006 Justin Gund All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer: I give CNET News.com specifics rights to this copy and any reprint of this copy.
Posted by OneWithTech (196 comments )
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