The US District Court for the Central District of California has dismissed a copyright infringement suit brought against video-sharing website YouTube, allowing the plaintiff to join a class action pending in federal court in New York (see “No easy answers in original YouTube lawsuit as judge denies summary judgment”). The plaintiff in the California case was a video news service based in Los Angeles. YouTube, which is owned by Google, has appealed the ruling.

District judge Florence-Marie Cooper granted the dismissal sought by plaintiff Robert Tur and his Los Angeles News Service. YouTube had opposed the dismissal on the grounds that the New York class action suit may take longer to resolve than Tur’s case, and may result in greater liability for YouTube if the site is found to have breached copyrights.

The Tur Case was the first suit filed against YouTube. It alleged that the site allowed users to upload, without permission, news footage taken by Tur – a freelance cameraman, who has covered infamous incidents in Los Angeles, such as the South Los Angeles riots and the OJ Simpson police pursuit.

The effect of the judge’s ruling is that Tur will be able to participate in the New York class action that was initiated by the sporting league, the Football Association Premier League (FA), which is based in England. The FA’s suit, along with an action brought by the entertainment company Viacom (see “Google hits back at Viacom as YouTube lawsuits keep on coming”), also alleges copyright infringement.

This procedural defeat may not have a lasting impact on the broader issues raised by YouTube’s platform for video-sharing. However, it is clear that the stage is set now for the dispute to play out in New York.

This article first appeared in World Copyright Law Report. For further information please go to  www.worldcopyrightlawreport.com