suing Google because of alleged copyright violations by users on YouTube, Google's popular video sharing site. Today, the Italian media company MediaSet filed a lawsuit against YouTube in Italian courts for about $800 million (500 million Euros) in damages. In a statement, the company announced that it found 4,643 videos and clips that it owned on YouTube on June 10. MediaSet claims that it lost the equivalent of of 315,672 broadcasting days because of this.Once again, a major media company is
MediaSet owns a number of terrestrial and satellite channels in Italy, including Canale 5, Italia 1, and Rete 4. As of now, it seems the videos that MediaSet claims as copyright violations are still available on YouTube.
Google's Reaction: Don't be Evil, Just Talk to Us
YouTube issued a statement to Bloomberg, arguing that there was simply no need for legal action, as it already prohibits all its users from uploading infringing material and cooperates "with all copyright holders to identify and promptly remove infringing content as soon as we are officially notified." From the reports we have seen so far, it was not immediately clear if MediaSet has ever approached YouTube about removing its clips before filing this lawsuit. Based on our own tests today, finding MediaSet owned videos on YouTube was a trivial exercise and we did not come across any videos with takedown notices.
This lawsuit is quite similar to the Google/Viacom lawsuit that made a lot of headlines earlier this month when a judge ordered Google to hand over its YouTube user data to Viacom. In this lawsuit, Viacom is looking for more than $1 billion in damages because of alleged copyright violations.
This also marks the second time in two weeks that Google has run into trouble with the Italian law. Just last week, prosecutors in Italy charged Google with failing to monitor its content in the context of a video where a group of students were taunting an autistic classmate.
One Video on YouTube = One Lost TV Viewer?
Over the years, Google has always promised that it was working on a better way to recognize and remove copyrighted content from YouTube - so far, however, it has not been able to do so effectively.
For the MediaSet lawsuit, it would also seems like it would be hard to argue that every video seen on YouTube would automatically translate into lost revenue for a media company (or if it is not, in the end, also mostly advertising for at least some of the media producers).
In this case, it would actually be interesting to get a look at the raw usage data for the copyrighted videos to see how many of them were viewed outside of Italy, where user couldn't have watched the actual TV show anyway.