YouTube wins small case against foreigners

Chris Caceres · July 8, 2009 · Short URL:

Plaintiffs should have registered with U.S. Copyright Office

 As an Online video producer and editor, part of the beauty of the Web, are tools like YouTube.  In my case, I’m not trying to take that content and say it’s my own – neither do other journalists or bloggers – it’s there for us to refer to, it’s there to enhance and enrich reports and posts.  Yet big media publishers continue to seek damages for these videos YouTube hosts, granted they want their share – but in this case, not getting very far as the war on copyright infringement across the Web continues.

YouTube has won a small part of a larger case, as U.S. federal judges have dismissed some claims for damages made by several plaintiffs against the top video sharing site in America, reports the WSJ.

Basically, the plaintiffs, which include music publishers and Britain’s top soccer league, were seeking damages for some videos uploaded to YouTube that were apparently copyrighted.

In this case, those copyrights were issued in foreign countries (not the U.S.).

U.S. District Judge Louis Stanton wrote that U.S. law “bars statutory damages for all foreign and domestic works not timely registered,” with the U.S. Copyright Office.  In other words, the plaintiffs should have copyrighted their content here in the US.

To add to the decision released on July 3, the judge also ruled out the option for punitive damages by the plaintiffs.   On the other hand, Judge Stanton said the plaintiffs could seek damages for claims over live broadcast footage.  

YouTube said the claims dismissed by the court were “baseless from the start.”

A lawyer for the plaintiffs said they were pleased to now have clarity in "how we have to go prove damages for the balance of the class."

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