A California federal judge just slapped down the entertainment industry hard today, siding with struggling P2P video company Veoh in a copyright infringement case filed by Universal. Universal's claim: Veoh is a P2P vehicle for copyright infringement.
The decision: Veoh totally complied with the Digital Millenium Copyright Act and has no liability.
The import: This could be a death-stroke for Viacom in its billion-dollar suit against Google's YouTube.
Here's a relevant quote from Judge A. Howard Matz's decision, from the Wall Street Journal.
Veoh has shown that when it did acquire knowledge of allegedly infringing material -- whether from DMCA notices, informal notices, or other means -- it expeditiously removed such material, and UMG has failed to rebut that showing.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation's Fred von Lohmann said the order would bear directly on the YouTube case. In an email, he told me:
Today's ruling is likely to prove influential in the pending lawsuits against YouTube, as the Veoh policies that the court approved in the ruling are very similar to those used by YouTube and other video hosting sites. This ruling is just the latest that reminds us that while the YouTube litigation trench war drags on in New York, the law is being clarified in smaller cases being brought by entertainment companies against smaller websites.
Universal called the ruling "wrong" and said it would appeal. Viacom dismissed the ruling as irrelevant to its case, since district court rulings are not binding on other jurisdictions. But von Lohmann told Cnet's Greg Sandoval that the New York court hearing that case would "take this ruling very seriously. The facts are very, very close."