Veoh seeks $3 mil in attorneys fees from Universal Music

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Veoh seeks $3 mil in attorneys fees from Universal Music

Wed Dec 02, 2009 @ 10:04AM PST

By Eriq Gardner

In the past 15 months, Veoh has won important court rulings against Io Group and Universal Music Group defending copyright infringement charges based on its video-sharing website.

Veoh's victories have upheld the legal theory that section 512(c) of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act gives "safe harbor" to websites who enact strong take-down measures.

Now Veoh may be in the process of giving copyright holders another reason to shudder. 

The company is going after UMG for nearly $3 million in attorney's fees incurred after October 2008, about the time that Veoh emerged victorious against adult entertainment company Io. According to a court filing submitted last month and just released, Veoh says that the Io ruling should have given UMG a strong hint:

"The sad truth of this case is that if UMG had simply sent Veoh take-down notices, Veoh would have responded as it does with all such notices...and disabled access to the material. This case would have been put to rest, saving this Court's and the parties' precious resources. Instead, UMG decided simply not to participate in the notice and takedown provisions of the DMCA. Remarkably, even after UMG filed suit, and Veoh offered to immediately take down any allegedly infringing videos identified by UMG, UMG refused, claiming it was Veoh's burden to try to figure out what alleged UMG rights might be infringed."

Judge Howard Matz will consider this motion at a hearing scheduled for December 21. The forthcoming ruling on this issue might have implications for other copyright holders. For example, Google is also claiming 512(c) safe harbor in defending Youtube from copyright infringement charges by Viacom and others. Similar to Veoh, Google has told copyright holders that it will comply with takedown requests.

No telling how much Google is spending on its own legal defense, but we're betting its far more than $3 million.

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The Hollywood Reporter
The Hollywood Reporter, Esq. blog focuses on how the entertainment and media industries are impacted and influenced by the law. It is edited by Matthew Belloni with contributions from veteran legal reporter Eriq Gardner and others. Before joining The Hollywood Reporter, Belloni was a lawyer at an entertainment litigation firm in Los Angeles. He writes a column for THR devoted to entertainment law. Gardner is a New York-based writer and legal journalist. Send tips or comments to Matthew.Belloni@thr.com

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