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Veoh Files Pre-Emptive Suit Against UMG; Still Battling Other Infringement Suit

Meanwhile, at the same time Universal Music Group is testing moving away from anti-piracy measures, online video site Veoh is making a pre-emptive move against UMG for threatening to sue it for piracy and infringement. Enough to make you head spin. But wait, there’s more: Veoh, which itself is backed by big media and other vested interests, is locked in another battle in the U.S. District Court for California’s Northern District in San Jose, and the hearing will happen on Sep 7th on the issue of damages. This second case is an adult content company, IO Group, which sued Veoh last year for infringement of its adult content, uploaded onto Veoh. Both are pushing for a summary judgment, of course.

Anyway, back to UMG: Veoh has pre-emptively sued it, asking a federal judge to prevent the music label from filing its own copyright infringement action…essentially the age-old (and YouTube) argument that the company has no liability for users uploading videos to Veoh that may contain music from Universal artists used without permission. Veoh said it was notified in July by Universal that the music label was considering suing Veoh because it was “massively infringing” its copyrights, but that Universal did not provide any details about the alleged infringement, and therefore Veoh could not investigate and take them down. UMG has in the past threatened to sue YouTube, but instead struck a licensing deal before any legal action was taken. The full lawsuit PDF filed by Veoh against UMG is here.

UMG, meanwhile, has an amusing statement in response: “Universal Music Group is enthusiastic about using technology to build communities, as evidenced by our deal with YouTube…But that’s not what Veoh is all about. Rather, it’s about trying to build a business on the backs of our artists and songwriters without fairly compensating them for the use of their works.”