French TV network TF1 will sue YouTube and Dailymotion in the coming weeks for letting pirated copies of its shows be published online, according to French news magazine Le Point. The general-interest broadcaster is claiming copyright abuse of 38.95 million euros (£24 million) against Paris-based Dailymotion and is requesting it remove the videos in question or face a 10,000 euro per-video penalty, while it’s claiming 100 million euro (£72 million) against YouTube, the report says.
Interestingly, TF1 has a formula for the the alleged aggravation – for every 100 videos viewed for free on sharing sites, it loses 20 commercial VOD sales, it is said to believe. Dailymotion’s legal affairs director Giuseppe di Martino, in the same magazine, said the move “surprises us enormously” and was “not reasonable” because TF1 has rejected its proposal to watermark its shows in order they can be filtered out of the site.
TF1 is doing its own interesting things with online distribution, selling dubbed versions of Heroes on-demand immediately after they go out on TV. Unlike TF1, many broadcasters – including the TF1 co-owned news network France24 – have now come around to partnering with Dailymotion and YouTube, which launched in France in June. Di Martino cited Dailymotion’s brand channel deals with Canal+, Universal, Turner and others. So either Le Point is well wide of the mark here or TF1’s strategy is sufficiently different from the others that it’s following Viacom’s (NYSE: VIA) lead in taking YouTube to court.
A “Heroes” search at both sites’ French equivalent hardly reveals rampant piracy, yet TF1 protests many of the episodes are available on Dailymotion – one has been viewed over 80,000 times – leading to a loss in advertising revenue of 666,000 euros (£479,000) per episode. Also cited in the case will be unauthorised re-use of The Infiltrés, a movie to which it holds the broadcast rights, and its news bulletins.