Songsters Join Fight Against YouTube

UPDATED: The list of YouTube’s legal foes is growing almost as fast as its

Today, the National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA) joined the
Football Associate Premier League’s class action suit against the
Google-owned video site, alleging direct copyright infringement,
contributory copyright infringement, and vicarious copyright
infringement. The case is pending in a United States District Court
in New York.

“NMPA is very concerned about YouTube’s approach to copyright,” NMPA
CEO David M. Israelite said in a statement.

“We are joining the lawsuit to protect the interests of music
publishers and songwriters whose creative works are being used
without permission or compensation by YouTube.”

In joining the Premier League’s suit, the NMPA, a trade group
“committed to promoting and advancing the interests
of music publishers and their songwriting partners,” follows Cherry
Lane Music Publish Co, The Federation Francaise de Tennis, and Ligue
de Football Professionnel. Those organizations signed on in early
June, following the suits original filing on May 4.

A YouTube spokesperson told, “We are surprised and disappointed that the NMPA has elected to take this route,” noting that YouTube has concluded “historic” licensing agreements with several NMPA members and has been in licensing discussions with others.

The spokesperson argued that many song writers and music publishers view YouTube as a useful promotional platform.

To defend itself, Google is likely to claim section 5.12 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act provides Google and YouTube safe harbor against such suits as the Premier League’s. That’s the
argument Google plans to make when defending itself against media
giant Viacom’s $1 billion copyright lawsuit.

Describing that strategy, YouTube product counsel Glenn
Brown told that Congress passed the DMCA
because, if Internet companies with hosted services were liable for
user copyright infringement, it would be too difficult to grow their

Brown said the law recognizes that only copyright holders
know whether their content is copyrighted or not.

Google, he said, will never have “direct knowledge” of what the
content owners would want done with their videos even though the
company is developing fingerprinting technology and even if it could
identify all the copyrighted content uploaded to YouTube.

Not all copyright owners buy it.

“YouTube makes all kinds of interesting arguments around the
boundaries, OK? And we could have all kinds of interesting disputes
around the boundaries,” Viacom general counsel Michael Fricklas
recently told

“But when a full-length motion picture shows up on YouTube, or when a
full-length episode of a copyrighted show or even a 10-minute clip of
a show ends up on the YouTube homepage, don’t tell me they don’t know
about it.

“It’s in the front page of every newspaper. It’s in our complaint.
You can’t tell me YouTube doesn’t know there’s infringing content
going around.”

Get the Free Newsletter!

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Subscribe to Daily Tech Insider for top news, trends & analysis

News Around the Web