A federal judge in California has dismissed a copyright lawsuit by an adult video company against the video-sharing service Veoh Networks, ruling that Veoh was protected by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) from having to pre-screen all posting from users for possible copyright violations. YouTube owner Google immediately seized on the ruling as a precedent supporting its position in a video-sharing lawsuit filed by Viacom.
US District Judge Howard Lloyd in San Jose ruled that Veoh qualifies for the “safe harbor” provisions because users of the site, not the company itself, were responsible for uploading material whose copyrights were owned by Io Group Inc., the adult video company. Veoh complied with DMCA because it was diligent at removing material whenever a copyright holder complained. “The DMCA was intended to facilitate the growth of electronic commerce, not squelch it,” Lloyd said in his ruling. Veoh has since dropped all XXX material from its site anyway.
“It is great to see the Court confirm that the DMCA protects services like YouTube that follow the law and respect copyrights,” said YouTube General Counsel Zahavah Levin, adding that his company “has gone above and beyond the law to protect content owners while empowering people to communicate and share their experiences online.”
Viacom has a $1 billion lawsuit pending against YouTube, claiming that the video-sharing site is guilty of “massive intentional copyright infringement.” Viacom claims hundreds of thousands of its video clips have been pirated via YouTube.
The financial backers of Veoh, by the way, include former Disney CEO Michael Eisner and a couple of people formerly associated with Viacom – former CEO Tom Freston and former Viacom Entertainment Chairman Jonathan Dolgen.