Friday, August 29, 2008

User-Generated Video Uploads Veoh, Napster, Google and Safe Harbors

In Io Group, Inc. v. Veoh Networks, Inc., No. C06-03926 (HRL), a decision dated August 27, 2008 by Northern District of California Judge Harold Lloyd, discussed by PC Magazine here, the court found that the video uploading service found at is not liable for copyright infringement.
The Veoh website permits users to view and upload their own videos and to share revenues generated from advertising revenues with Veoh. Veoh automates the process, so Veoh is not engaged in reviewing content before it goes up. You can also watch television shows made available by Veoh's "content partners". I note such shows as CSI and Ugly Betty from Veoh's home page.
The plaintiff sued Veoh claiming that its copyrighted films were posted on Veoh without bothering to give Veoh notice beforehand.
The decision has a great discussion of the technology involved in the uploading and storing process. It also has a thorough discussion of Veoh's user policies and the legislative history relative to the Digital Millenium Copyright Act that provides a "safe harbor" to online service providers who take reasonable measures to ensure that they are not helping copyright infringers. There is an informative discussion of why Veoh's case differs from the facts of Napster, although the underlying facts of Napster were not fully fleshed out. In today's New York Post, the Veoh case was reported as "Copyright case may aid Google".
Judge Lloyd found Veoh's policy to be reasonable, and rejected arguments that a stronger policy which would be more effective in barring people from creating new false user names was mandated as a condition for avoiding copyright infringement liability. He rejected the argument that the possibility of a banned user creating new false user names amounted to no policy at all. He also made clear that the law was designed to permit different approaches to developing an anti-infringement policy.
Certainly, this flexible approach has to be encouraging to Google, whose policies were not 100% effective against people who actively sought to foil them.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Stockwire Research Group, Inc., et. al. v. Lebed, et. al., 2008 WL 4279507 (S.D.Fla. Sept. 18, 2008).