Premier League files lawsuit against Youtube

MUMBAI: The FA Premier League has launched a legal class action against the video social network YouTube, claiming it was illegally hosting thousands of clips of football action.

The Premier League also called on other publishers - especially from the music industry - to join it in the action against the video-sharing online phenomenon, which could have great effect in laying down legal parameters for the worldwide web.


The response has been strong. Cherry Lane Music Publishing Co an independent music publishers -- responsible for catalogues of artists such as Elvis Presley, Quincy Jones, The Black Eyed Peas, John Legend, and more than 65,000 other copyrights -- along with the national French tennis organisation (Federation Française de Tennis) and French soccer league (Ligue de Football Professionel) have joined the suit and strongly support the copyright infringement class action claims against YouTube and parent Google.

Since the filing of the suit, plaintiffs and their counsel have been contacted by a large number of copyright holders, including through the toll-free number and litigation website ( established to facilitate communications with prospective Class members.


Premier League spokesman Dan Johnson says, “We are pleased to see other copyright holders joining us in what we are trying to achieve. They clearly recognise the need to take action against YouTube and Google to protect the value of their rights.

“The Internet is increasingly important as a medium for distribution of entertainment, sports, and other content, but nothing gives YouTube the right to build its business based on the hard work of others without their permission and without payment. We anticipate these latest parties are just the ‘tip of the iceberg’, and more will follow.

“It is our intention to demonstrate the technology currently being used to take and exploit copyrighted works can be just as effectively used to police and prevent unauthorized posting of creative works. This will allow content owners and creators to choose how their works will be distributed electronically without first being subjected to wide scale infringement on the YouTube site.”

The case has been filed in New York. For quite a while now copyright holders have been saying that Youtube is profiting at their expense.

The Premier League is concerned that it could undermine the carefully created rights model that brings in billions for its clubs - ?2.7 billion from its most recent deals.

The suit argues that Google which bought Youtube last year for $1.65 billion should use its technology to monitor clips before they are posted to the site to remove those that breach its copyright, rather than waiting for them to be flagged up by rights owners.

Hundreds of thousands of bootlegged football clips, from Diego Maradona’s amazing 1986 run against England to almost every Premier League goal scored last season, are available through the site.

Google, media reports state, has argued that the case, if successful, could set a dangerous precedent for the way the internet is policed and has called it an attack on “artistic expression”. It has also said in the past that it removes copyrighted works when it receives complaints and isn‘t liable for the actions of users. In March Viacom had filed a $1 billion lawsuit against Youtube and Google citing copyright infringement.

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