7 Comments

Summary:

Universal Music Group said today it has filed suit against Grouper and Bolt for copyright infringement, reports Reuters. Universal sets its price at (up to) $150,000 per each instance of infringement, plus costs*. This is the first major legal challenge to online video aggregators, and something […]

Universal Music Group said today it has filed suit against Grouper and Bolt for copyright infringement, reports Reuters. Universal sets its price at (up to) $150,000 per each instance of infringement, plus costs*. This is the first major legal challenge to online video aggregators, and something many assume will be in the cards for YouTube, especially since it gained deep-pocketed parent Google. Mark Cuban must be smirking somewhere.

We had previously gotten riled up about Time Warner pursuing copyright threats against YouTube; this time, it’s a real live lawsuit.

Sites like Grouper (recently bought by Sony), Bolt, and YouTube cite the Digital Millennium Copyright Act as protection for not proactively removing copyrighted content. Instead, the hosts will allow most non-pornographic uploads and act quickly on copyright complaints. YouTube and Google Video have gone the extra mile to cut deals with music labels to allow use of their content. It’s interesting that Grouper was the one to get dinged considering it had shifted its strategy from private P2P to personal video sharing before getting bought.

It’s not clear from the Reuters story whether Universal served Grouper and Bolt with takedown notices before serving them with lawsuits, but clearly the music label is looking for a weak spot wherever it can get it.

*If that number sounds familiar, $150,000 per infringement is the same price the WSJ reported NewsCorp, NBC Universal, and Viacom are seeking per unauthorized video on YouTube.

  1. Very interesting development here. As you stated, Universal cut deals with Google/YouTube. But what I’m curious about is why not with Bolt and Grouper. I wonder a couple things that would put this case in a clearer light: (1) if they served takedown notices (im guessing yes) & (2) if they tried to cut a deal with these two sites and they refused. Looks like Universal either wants to test the legal waters with these smaller players before investing in broader lawsuits or they want to punish these sites for NOT cutting deals with them.

    Share
  2. [...] troubled video-sharing site Bolt said it had sold itself for $30 million to GoFish to get out of being sued by Universal Music Group. Turns out the deal wasn’t as final as Bolt had told us. (They also [...]

    Share
  3. [...] come as a surprise: Bolt.com, the beleaguered online video site is shutting down. The site had been sued by Universal Music Group, and then sold itself to GoFish for $30 million in February 2007. Earlier this month, We had [...]

    Share
  4. [...] not owned by a public company. But page views weren’t enough to carry Bolt after it was sued by Universal Music Group. Six months after GoFish said it would pay $30 million to buy Bolt and settle the lawsuit, the deal [...]

    Share
  5. [...] Universal on suing rampage. Anybody notice this? Universal Music Group Sues Myspace. Universal Apparently Threatens Bank of America for “One” Parody Video. Universal Follows through on Video Lawsuit Threats. [...]

    Share
  6. [...] the popular video-sharing site that was taken completely off the Internet after both being sued by Universal Music Group and seeing its planned acquisition by GoFish fall through, is back online. According to a source [...]

    Share
  7. [...] Music Group seem interested in consolidating video sites by picking off smaller players through lawsuits and saving their negotiation energy for pork-filled deals with YouTube. To that end, CBS seems more [...]

    Share

Comments have been disabled for this post