YouTube Sued for $13.9 Million for Copyright Infringement

It seemed like the lawsuits were finally over for the Google owned website. That hope of finally being legally in the clear was recently dashed when French music label collecting society SPPF sued YouTube for €10 million.

Note: This is an article I wrote that was published elsewhere first. It has been republished here for archival purposes

There was an interesting development from the hugely popular video sharing site. A report from Billboard says that SPPF has sued YouTube saying that over 100 music videos from their catalogue appeared on the site. All this after a previous episode where SPPF demanded the content be taken down (which, consequently, were taken down) only to have the video’s be re-uploaded by their users.

YouTube issued a statement saying that SPPF didn’t use their content ID system which prevents others uploading similar content.

While using the content ID system may have helped, one user discovered at one point that the system is far from perfect. Regardless, one might wonder if the fact that the labels decided not to use the system would hurt them in any legal case against the site.

Of course, there was another interesting tidbit BillBoard uncovered:

Meanwhile, SPPF also unveiled results for 2008, with a 14.9% increase in income to €14.5 million ($20.2 million). The rise was mainly due to various exceptional items and to an increase in music video income, thanks to the growth of digital terrestrial television (DTT) channels.

If there was an argument to be made that having an unauthorized video uploaded on YouTube will do harm for record labels, the fact that their revenues increase will not likely help that argument.

Of course, SPPF is far from the only entity to sue the website. Last year, French Broadcaster TF1 sued YouTube for €100 million. That was on top of the Italian Media Companies half a billion Euro lawsuit. Lawsuits, at one point, became so frequent that some observers renamed the site “SueTube” given that the site seemed to be, at that time, attracting a large number of lawsuits.

[Hat tip: Open Rights Group]

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

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