Court Clears Veoh In Internet Copyright Infringement Case

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In a June 2006, San Francisco-based Io Group, which also does business as Titan Media, accused Veoh of copyright infringement after it discovered that content from 10 of its copyrighted films were uploaded and viewed, without permission and did not display copyright notices. In its court filing, Io said that as many as 40,000 users had viewed its clips, which ran up to 40 minutes long.

In the ruling, court papers noted that Veoh "does not itself actively participate or supervise the uploading of files...nor does it preview or select the files before the upload is completed."

San Diego, Calif.-based Veoh argued that it did not violate copyrights under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), and was not culpable under a safe harbor provision.

The safe harbor section of the DCMA limits a service provider's liability "for infringement of copyright by reason of the storage at the direction of a user of material that resides on a system or network controlled or operated by or for the service provider." If an Internet service removes copyrighted material once they are aware of it, they are covered by the safe harbor. Before it filed its suit, Io "provided no notice to Veoh of any claimed copyright infringement," according to the ruling.

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The court also pointed out that by the time the suit was filed, access to all content on Veoh's Website had been yanked, and at the same time, Veoh said it would no longer permit adult content on the site.

"In sum, there is no evidence raising a genuine issue of material fact that Veoh was aware of, but deliberately chose to ignore 'red flags' of infringement or that Veoh fails to act expeditiously to remove or disable access to infringing material upon obtaining knowledge or awareness of infringing activity."

The case has been watched closely as it could portend to current lawsuits involving YouTube vs. Viacom and others in the online copyright arena.