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Google buying lawsuit, YouTube music video deal and Universal suing Grouper

There’s a lot of buzz about last week’s GooTube deal. For the best business+legal analysis you have to check John Battelle’s blog, where Fred von Lohmann shares his insights about the buyout — I especially dig his comment about Google “buying” (control over) a lawsuit.

YouTube has already been sued (by LA New Service), so Google is essentially buying that lawsuit. But I don’t think that’s a problem — frankly, precedent set against YouTube will likely exert strong influence over the entire video hosting industry. So, in essence, Google is just getting more direct control over a lawsuit that is important for its existing and future business.

The EFF’s Derek Slater also brings the news that YouTube has deals with Sony BMG, Universal, and Warner Music, allowing users to “freely remix and share popular sound recordings from those major record labels’ catalogs.” That is excellent news, and Derek asks himself if this might be a step towards blanket licensing for P2P. Derek also reports — and this is an interesting twist — that at the same time Universal is suing video sharing sites Grouper and Bolt.com for hosting copyrighted music video uploads. Noteworthy detail: Grouper was recently acquired by Sony.

Update 2006-10-23: Spicing things up a bit, last week, YouTube has taken 29,549 videos down after a request by JASRAC. This is not the first time the Japanese content industry asks YouTube to take down videos, but it’s the biggest mass removal so far. N.B. Be sure to check out this cute JASRAC parody, posted two days ago.

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  1. […] On Monday, JASRAC sent a letter to YouTube, asking them to proactively check if uploaded videos infringe their copyrights. According to the letter, the problem is that the Notice &&& Takedown scheme is too time-consuming, and “not functioning well due to the large volume of illegal uploads.” Therefore, JASRAC asks YouTube to “implement an infringement-preventive system, which eliminates copyright infringement by employing various technologies of today” (hmm?) as well as to take three provisional measures in the meantime: 1. add a copyright warning on the frontpage; 2. “[r]egister the names and addresses of those users making uploads and to keep such records” (that’s real addresses, not IP addresses) 3. terminate the user accounts of the users who uploaded the 30000 videos that were deleted in October. […]

    » chosaq » JASRAC putting pressure on YouTube on December 6th, 2006 at 15:32