Attorneys representing online video sites around the country are salivating today over the Veoh summary judgment decision (I know this because I’ve spoken to a few of them). In a nutshell, here’s what we learned today: If you take reasonable precautions against copyrighted materials on your service, you may be ok. And oh yeah, if you are going to get sued, try to get sued in federal court in northern California, because the judges there are a lot more Internet-friendly than some other federal judges we’ve seen.
Specifically, the court said that online video sites are protected under the safe harbor provisions of the DMCA if they do the following (my interpretation of the decision):
YouTube, which is obviously thrilled with the decision, emailed us the following statement to us from Chief Counsel Zahavah Levine:
It is great to see the Court confirm that the DMCA protects services like YouTube that follow the law and respect copyrights. YouTube has gone above and beyond the law to protect content owners while empowering people to communicate and share their experiences online. We work every day to give content owners choices about whether to take down, leave up, or even earn revenue from their videos, and we are developing state-of-the-art tools to let them do that even better.
The statement by the court that checking every video for infringement isn’t realistic is an important one for Google/YouTube, which has said 13 hours of video content is uploaded every minute on YouTube. If it’s impossible for Veoh to monitor all content, YouTube is going to have an order-of-magnitude larger problem.
Before the parties break out, it’s important to note that this is a district court decision and will very likely be appealed. I imagine YouTube may be lending one or ten of its lawyers to Veoh to assist in that appeal in any way possible.
But this is still a key ruling and one likely to impact the YouTube-Viacom $1 billion ongoing litigation as well as a slew of other cases.
The full order is included below.