Google, YouTube Face New Class Action Lawsuit

May 5th, 2007 | By | Category: Digital Video Downloads, Podcasting Law, Streaming Video, Video

YouTubeUK’s Football Association Premier League Limited and indie music publisher Bourne Co. filed a class action lawsuit in federal court in New York Friday to stop the unauthorized use of their works, and those of all other similarly situated copyright holders, on YouTube. The lawsuit names as defendants two YouTube affiliates (YouTube, Inc. and YouTube LLC) as well as YouTube‚Äôs corporate parent, Google, Inc.

According to the complaint filed earlier today in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, “Defendants are pursuing a deliberate strategy of engaging in, permitting, encouraging, and facilitating massive copyright infringement on the YouTube website” in order to build traffic to the site. The complaint alleges that the YouTube defendants have long been aware of this pattern of massive infringement yet refrain from employing readily available measures to curb it because the defendants understand that the popularity of YouTube derive primarily from the ability of website visitors to view copyrighted materials without having to pay the owners.

The complaint further alleges that it was this very business model that persuaded defendant Google to pay $1.65 billion to purchase YouTube in November 2006, and that Google has endorsed and directed YouTube’s infringing conduct since becoming its corporate parent.

“The $1.65 billion paid by Google to purchase YouTube in 2006, and the concomitant $4 billion increase in Google‚Äôs market capitalization, vastly understates both the value of the intellectual property rights of the Class that YouTube has misappropriated and the harm to the Class caused by Defendants‚Äô unlawful conduct,” according to the complaint.

Earlier in the year, Viacom sued Google for 1 billion dollars, arguing that YouTube business is built on ripping off other people’s work.

The lawsuit seeks a court-ordered injunction to prohibit the defendants from continuing to violate various copyright protection laws. The lawsuit also asks for unspecified damages for YouTube’s past copyright violations. A copy of the complaint can be found at

Class Action Suit

The Premier League and Bourne plan to prosecute this case as a class action on behalf of themselves and thousands of others whose copyrighted works have appeared on without permission. The Premier League is the top division of English soccer, broadcast in 204 countries worldwide and viewed by audiences estimated at 2.59 billion people. Bourne is one of the leading independent publishers of music in the United States.
To represent their interests and those of the prospective Class, The Premier League and Bourne have retained two law firms, Proskauer Rose LLP and Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann LLP.

A hotline for copyright owners who have had their works appear on has been established at 1-866-725-0516. Other inquiries should be directed to Mr. Solomon at 212-969-3200 or Mr. Coffey at 212-554-1409.

More discussion at Mashable & the BBC.

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