YouTube sued in the US by Content Creators alleging Copyright Infringement

July 09, 2020

YouTube sued in the US by Content Creators alleging Copyright Infringement

[ by Legal Era News Network ]


Composer and musician Maria Schneider and Pirate Monitor Ltd. have filed a class action complaint against YouTube for copyright infringement in the Northern District of California. The suit claimed that YouTube does not afford them the opportunity to remove infringing work as larger content creators and that infringing work that is removed from the platform is often re-uploaded and posted by users without repercussions.

According to the plaintiffs, YouTube is crowded with videos that infringe on the rights of copyright holders. They added that “YouTube has facilitated and induced this hotbed of copyright infringement through its development and implementation of a copyright enforcement system that protects only the most powerful copyright owners such as major studios and record labels.” Furthermore, the plaintiffs stated that YouTube’s limitations were deliberate and designed to maximize YouTube’s (and its parents Google’s and Alphabet’s) drive for user volume and advertising revenue.

It was also claimed that YouTube did not have an effective enforcement tool in place to prevent such infringement. The plaintiffs also said that the system in place actually aggravated the damage caused to them including in a manner that bars YouTube from the protections of any safe harbors under applicable copyright laws such as the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (‘DMCA’).

YouTube has a ‘Content ID’ – a digital footprint tool that compares videos being uploaded on YouTube to a list of copyrighted material submitted by those entities permitted to utilize Content ID. This is done to manage copyrights for large content creators according to the plaintiffs. The plaintiffs stated that the Content ID is not only unavailable to Plaintiffs and the Class, but it actually safeguards the vast majority of known and repeated copyright infringers from YouTube’s repeat infringer policy, thereby encouraging its users to continue uploading of infringing content.

According to the plaintiffs, no protection is afforded to smaller and independent creators like Plaintiffs and the Class who are deliberately left out from copyright protection. The plaintiffs alleged that Content ID was designed by YouTube to prevent big entities from suing the platform and that it is in, effect, created a two-tiered system whereby the rights of large creators with resources to take Defendants to court on their own are protected, while small and independent creators are not given any protection.

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