- On June 23, 2010, the US District Court for the Southern District of New York granted summary judgment in favor of YouTube and Google and against Viacom and various other copyright holders who claimed that YouTube and Google are liable for their users’ acts of copyright infringement. The trial court agreed with YouTube and Google that the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s “safe harbor” clause shielded them from liability, and did not require them to review users’ content for potential copyright-infringement concerns before allowing the material to be posted to the site. “The provider must know of the particular case before he can control it,” the court ruled, and further held that the “provider need not monitor or seek out facts indicating such [infringing] activity.” Viacom Int’l, Inc. v. YouTube, Inc., Case Nos. 07 Civ. 2103 (LLS), et al. (SDNY). Viacom already has stated publicly that it will appeal the decision.
- A day earlier, the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit dismissed an appeal by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) that challenged the Copyright Royalty Board’s order instituting a penny-rate royalty structure for cell phone ringtones under which copyright owners receive 24 cents for every ringtone sold using their copyrighted work and a 1.5 percent per month late fee for late royalty payments. The DC Circuit held that the Board’s decision was reasonable and reasonably explained, and not arbitrary and capricious, as the RIAA claimed. For the ringtone fee, the RIAA had sought 15 percent of the wholesale ringtone revenue, but the court found that the Board had considered the full, extensive scope of evidence submitted at the hearing and therefore was entitled to substantial deference in its chosen penny-rate royalty structure. As the court concluded, the “Board examined the relevant data and determined that there was no meaningful link between the selection of a penny-rate royalty structure for ringtones and future ringtone revenues. RIAA has failed to present any basis for us to overturn that conclusion.” Recording Industry Assoc. v. Librarian of Congress, DC Cir. No. 09-107.
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In the courts
- Arent Fox LLP
- Ross A. Buntrock , Jonathan E. Canis , Alan G. Fishel , Michael B. Hazzard , Jeffrey E. Rummel and Stephanie A. Joyce
- June 28 2010
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