Breaking: Veoh Sues Universal Music

Perhaps new Veoh CEO Steve Mitgang is the kind of guy you don’t want to try to intimidate. He just called me to say that Universal Music made one too many threats to sue his company. To protect themselves, they are suing Universal Music in federal court and seeking what is known as a declaratory injunction to bar Universal from taking legal action.

Given that the lawsuits tend to flow one way against the video startups, this is a major surprise.

In the press release, Veoh says they acted based on “unreasonable threats” from Universal and filed the lawsuit under the safe harbor provisions of the DMCA. In a phone call a few minutes ago, Mitgang told me that the two companies met recently, and that Universal made it clear that they would be suing Veoh for copyright infringement in the near future. These kinds of threats are not idle – Universal tends to follow up with actual lawsuits.

When a company feels that a lawsuit is imminent, they can strike first to head it off. Since Veoh feels it has protection under the DMCA for its business model, they are striking first.

Mitgang also mentioned to me that Universal Music has never sent them a DMCA take down notice of any kind. He says that they would have complied immediately.

Story in progress, check back for more.

Complaint is below: