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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Hosting Network Won File-Sharing Case

After being litigated by Universal Music Group, Veoh Networks won as a federal appeals court handed down the decision in their favor. Last week the court ruled that if the site operator can successfully keep users from publishing copyrighted content, they aren’t responsible for copyright violation.

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The lawsuit in question was watched attentively by the entertainment industry: by winning, Veoh Networks have really set a precedent, because it is the first national case that managed to reach the appeal court. As a result, a federal panel in the US is currently considering an appeal filed by Viacom in a similar copyright case launched against YouTube.

Launched 5 years ago, Veoh Networks lets its users to publish videos on their site. However, the service does instruct the users not to publish copyrighted content. In addition, the company is using filtering means in order to remove more than 60,000 copyrighted videos. However, even despite all those precautions, the company acknowledges that a number of copyrighted videos have been downloaded from their website. Back in 2007, Universal Music Group filed a lawsuit against Veoh Networks, claiming that their protective tools were insufficient and that the firm knew, or should have been aware, that its users have uploaded copyrighted videos and music that belong to Universal Music Group.

The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals of San Francisco didn’t agree with the claims of the entertainment industry and exonerated Veoh Networks, deciding that the company was eligible for “safe harbor” under the DMCA. In reply, Universal Music Group argued that Veoh Networks knew that the uploaded content was copyrighted, and that’s why the firm should be held liable. However, the court didn’t change their opinion and decided that since Veoh Networks complied with deleting the copyrighted content it cannot be guilty.

Judge Raymond Fisher said in the 3-0 ruling that rights owners knew exactly what content they own, and therefore are better able to identify violating copies than such service providers as Veoh Networks. In their response, Michael Elking, representing Veoh Networks, claimed that the court’s decision was an important victory for the digital media marketplace.

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