October 21, 2006 6:00 AM PDT

YouTube's no friend to copyright violators

People posting copyright material on YouTube shouldn't be surprised if the company makes no effort to protect them in a copyright battle.

The video-sharing site may hand over information on those who post video clips of movies and TV shows if they're accused of copyright infringement, something perhaps not well known by those who do so.

Robert Tur, a Los Angeles-based journalist who recorded scenes of the 1992 Los Angeles riots, filed suit against YouTube in July after seeing numerous clips of his video on the site. In a letter to Tur, YouTube attorneys said he should instead go after the person who posted the video, according to Tur's attorney, Francis Pizzulli.

"Mr. Tur was advised that...he could file a lawsuit against the YouTube user," Pizzulli said. "Mr. Tur was informed that it was YouTube policy to provide copyright owners with user identification information (after receiving a valid subpoena)."

After receiving such a subpoena in another case last summer, YouTube turned over information belonging to Chris Moukarbel, who was being sued by Paramount Pictures for making a movie based on a script owned by the studio, according to a Friday story in MarketWatch.

A YouTube representative did not respond to an interview request from CNET News.com.

That YouTube will not cover up for accused lawbreakers shouldn't come as a surprise. The company has consistently said that it will obey the law and that it doesn't want copyright material on its site. That message is spelled out in YouTube's user agreement, as well as in a computer prompt that appears before a person uploads a clip.

The company also says it removes clips once notified of a copyright violation.

But YouTube owes much of its early fame to the unauthorized posting of movie and TV show clips.

YouTube first began attracting attention after clips from NBC TV's "Saturday Night Live," showed up on its site. Much was written about the show's appearance on YouTube and the subsequent demand by NBC that the clips be removed. Since then, slices of sporting events, news shows, feature films, soap operas and music videos have appeared on YouTube.

And the payoff came earlier this month. It was YouTube's 16 million monthly visitors that helped convince Google to pay $1.65 billion for the video-sharing site.

Since the sale, entertainment companies have begun making noise about their unwillingness to stand still while YouTube and others attract crowds with their properties. A group of Japanese media companies demanded Friday that YouTube remove more than 29,000 videos, and the company complied.

Universal Music Group said on Tuesday that it had filed lawsuits against video-sharing sites Grouper and Bolt.com for the alleged copyright violations on their sites. It remains unclear why Universal did not name YouTube in its suit.

YouTube has said it is working on new methods to help thwart copyright violations. The company has also said that it is not responsible for copyright violations; the users are.

See more CNET content tagged:
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21 comments

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smart on youtube's part
This makes a lot of sense for youtube. It redirects the pressure coming from copyright holders from youtube to individual users. It also puts pressure on the copyright holders...often the big studio companies don't want to be seen suing a bunch of individuals - makes them look like the bad guy. Should be interesting to see how many users are actually sued.
Posted by someexistence (5 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Correct-to-mundo!
The problem with many people on the Internet is that they feel they are are not accountable for their actions. They believe that they can basically commit crimes, and then let someone else deal with it. I think it is a great idea for YouTube not to protect these violators. The issues of copyright violations and the Internet have been circulating in the mass media for almost a decade. There's absolutely no way these violators can flash the "I didn't know" card.
Posted by groink_hi (380 comments )
Link Flag
YouTube is 95% copyright material..
If YouTube removes the copyright violators the only thing left will
be hundreds of clips of people acting like monkeys in front of thier
webcams..
Posted by imacpwr (456 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Agreed...
This will be a huge purcasing blunder if these copyright suits keep
going. Youtube is a youth orientated site and there is NOTHING
more fickle, than a teen. One whiff of a corporate hassle and they
are out of there. Like the poster said, people acting like monkeys
wil be the only thing left. In fact, I'm off to YouTube right now to
take down a piece of footage I thought would be nice to have up
there, but apparently not. It always amazes me how lawyers and
rigid rules can just grind anything to a halt.
Posted by Bosco714 (8 comments )
Link Flag
no matter
true, and yet millions will still tune it... after all, the reality TV shows broadcast by the networks are nothing more than people acting like monkies in front of much more expensive cameras.
Posted by skeptik (590 comments )
Link Flag
Napster déjà vu
quote:
"YouTube has said it is working on new methods to help thwart
copyright violations. The company has also said that it is not
responsible for copyright violations; the users are."

Haven't we heard that one before..???

"Napster has said it is working on new methods to help thwart
copyright violations. The company has also said that it is not
responsible for copyright violations; the users are."
Posted by imacpwr (456 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Constructing sites like YouTube should be illegal
Well, the title says it all. I think the old thinking, "it's the users fault", after building a site which collects information which infringes copyright interests.... in such case the CEO's should go to prison for publicly performing such content unless they turn the site off, or reduce the scope of the site so they vet each piece before publishing. In other words, if you build a business/site you are doing so under your names (the CEO/Executives)................. It doesnt matter how big or iconoclastic you are..... or how diluted you place yourself (CEO) between you, your employees and the content&.. IT doesnt matter. I think we'll see a "sea change" in coming times. This is all wrong and there is no excuse or business logic for this. :) YouTube should be shut down immediately or fix it immediately.
Posted by trueview (29 comments )
Reply Link Flag
YouTube 4ever.Media mafia should be illegal, racketeers should be JAILED!
Media mafia like Hollywood is kinda doubtful guys.Lots of their copyright actions can be classified as a real racket.Some other actions are just unfair ways of doing business intended to prevent competitors from being able to create any content.So, let's JAIL the racketeers, it's a crime.And antimonopoly organizations should take a close look on Hollywood sharks since they're finally get completely mad with their copyright worries and racketeeng everything what can make them to loose moneys.Often their actions should be classified as illegal, if law will treat ALL OF US equally.
Posted by t3st3r` (60 comments )
Link Flag
Constructing sites like YouTube should be illegal
Well, the title says it all. I think the old thinking, "it's the users fault", after building a site which collects information which infringes copyright interests.... in such case the CEO's should go to prison for publicly performing such content unless they turn the site off, or reduce the scope of the site so they vet each piece before publishing. In other words, if you build a business/site you are doing so under your names (the CEO/Executives)................. It doesnt matter how big or iconoclastic you are..... or how diluted you place yourself (CEO) between you, your employees and the content..... IT doesnt matter. I think we'll see a "sea change" in coming times. This is all wrong and there is no excuse or business logic for this. :) YouTube should be shut down immediately or fix it immediately, and Google Executives must be held accountable. (Like buying a racketeering black-market business -- now the ball is in their court). I think people who achieve lots of success quickly feel empowered to do what they want, and feel like nobody can touch them. There is no question new legislation will be enacted to address this..................
Posted by trueview (29 comments )
Reply Link Flag
No, progress can't stop.Traditional corp's should be shutdown :)
Actually, content makers are making everything to prevent users from making their content.Because user-generated content often beats multibillion-advertised crap known as "copyrighted material".It is surely right of each and every people to have FREEDOM OF SPEECH.And hence, any attempts to prevent me from putting my own video on any site like YouTube are ILLEGAL, by design.Those who unhappy with it should be JAILED as they're violating MY legal rights.So, fxxoff, multibillion megacorporations who uses traditional business models.Your time is over.Your classical TV shows, news and other crap is completely BORING.So, let's dynamic world to rock.Let's multi-billion shows to fail.Bye-bye, media mafia, your end is near, do not bother people please.
Posted by t3st3r` (60 comments )
Link Flag
Constructing sites like YouTube should be illegal (IMO) - full version
Well, the title says it all. I think the old thinking, "it's the users fault", after building a site which collects information which infringes copyright interests.... in such case the CEO's should go to prison for publicly performing such content unless they turn the site off, or reduce the scope of the site so they vet each piece before publishing. In other words, if you build a business/site you are doing so under your names (the CEO/Executives)................. It doesnt matter how big or iconoclastic you are..... or how diluted you place yourself (CEO) between you, your employees and the content..... IT doesnt matter. I think we'll see a "sea change" in coming times. This is all wrong and there is no excuse or business logic for this. :) YouTube should be shut down immediately or fix it immediately, and Google Executives must be held accountable. (Like buying a racketeering black-market business -- now the ball is in their court). I think people who achieve lots of success quickly feel empowered to do what they want, and feel like nobody can touch them. There is no question new legislation will be enacted to address this..................
Posted by trueview (29 comments )
Reply Link Flag
stupid rant
Comments like yours serve no purpose in a serious discussion of sites like YouYube.
YouTube has stated from the start that copyright material is not allowed, has a process for owners to request removal and will not protect the posters. What more can they do?
Sure, in your fantasy world you'd like them to personally vet each post, be all knowing enought ot recognize every copyrighted piece of material ever produced anywhere and prevent it from posting.
But the entire idea of user driven content is incompatible with your design. YouTube cannot do this any more than wikipedia can prevent fictitous information from being posted.
The test of a companies intentions is how they respond when presented with a problem in their posts. YouTube does just fine in that regard.
Posted by skeptik (590 comments )
Link Flag
itunes for YouTube
There needs to be a iTunes for YouTube. THe same issu is
occurring, because of the availability of a service and the neglect of
a company people are easily able to break copyright laws without
punishment. The problem is people will continue to break those
laws until a regular YouTube user gets in big trouble to uploading a
video of themselves sing "love Shack". I think that there should be
a place on the web where you can pay a small fee like 99 cents to
upload music or video that is not original for viewing pleasures of
the masses where NBC and user can be happy.
Posted by scottbarker (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
itunes for YouTube
There needs to be a iTunes for YouTube. The same issue is
occurring, because of the availability of a service and the neglect
of
a company. People are easily able to break copyright laws
without
punishment. The problem is people will continue to break those
laws until a regular YouTube user gets in big trouble for
uploading a
video of themselves sing "love Shack". I think that there should
be a place on the web where you can pay a small fee like 99
cents to upload music or video that is not original for viewing
pleasures of the masses, where NBC and user alike can be
happy.
Posted by scottbarker (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
YouTube so popular are everyone can put "any" video clip to share
If those "fun" illegal video clips are remove then what's remain in YouTube?
Most "personal made" video are not fun....really..
Posted by X-C3PO (126 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Fair Use
There is some bad stuff on YouTube, but I think most of the stuff on YouTube would survive. Most clips are partial and would fall under fair use.
Posted by umbrae (1073 comments )
Reply Link Flag
exactly
As much as media companies want to ignore fair use, they can not.

Besides, people making fan videos of music, or movies helps sales. The MPAA and RIAA are too stupid and greedy to realize it.

Start attacking the fans and you won't have any and your "inellectual property" will be have no value.
Posted by qwerty75 (1164 comments )
Link Flag
Are you dudes are stupid liers or guys from media mafia?
YouTube has nothing close to 95% of copyrighted material.Let's stop this copyright madness ignited by media mafia and its racketeers.
Posted by t3st3r` (60 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I think there is more than a thousands of illegal movies on YouTube?. I think some of all YouTube? members or some of you think these movies are really great, but for me, it is illegal.

Some are full-length, cut into parts, and some of them are movie clips.

I think all of them have DVD-ripped their movies and posted them in.

Some YouTube? members are recording TV shows also.

So everyone, PLEASE, don't upload movies from a DVD or record TV shows.
Posted by SN37 (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
 

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