Analysts and legal eagles watched with a keen eye as Judge Howard Lloyd of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California ruled on Wednesday that Veoh did its part to protect
copyright holders, thus qualifying for "safe harbor" protections under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Adult entertainment company Io Group alleged that the online video provider had not
done enough to stop users from uploading unauthorized clips of its adult sex films.
"The DMCA was intended to facilitate the growth of electronic commerce, not squelch it," Judge Lloyd said.
The DMCA protects publishers from being held accountable for the content uploaded by their users, as long as they make it clear that uploading copyrighted material is prohibited, and swiftly comply
with official takedown notices. TechCrunch's Michael Arrington noted that it's also helpful to have fingerprinting technology in place to detect copyrighted material, in addition to lots of
non-infringing content (Veoh only received takedown notices on 7% of its content).
Google's YouTube was the obvious winner here. The video sharing site is currently embroiled in a lawsuit
with media giant Viacom, in a similar copyright infringement suit for $1 billion. In response to the Veoh decision, a YouTube spokesperson said, "It is great to see the Court confirm that the DMCA
protects services like YouTube that follow the law and respect copyrights...We work every day to give content owners choices about whether to take down, leave up, or even earn revenue from their
videos, and we are developing state-of-the-art tools to let them do that even better." Even so, Arrington points out that the parties shouldn't start yet, as the district court decision will most
likely be appealed
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