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British Soccer, Music Publisher File Suit Against YouTube

7 May, 2007 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Movies and television shows might be one thing. But illegal third-party uploads of soccer games from The Football Association Premier League Limited, England's top professional confederation, is quite another.

The Premier League together with New York-based independent music publisher Bourne Co., have filed a class-action copyright infringement lawsuit against community video site YouTube and its parent Google Inc.

The suit, filed May 4 in U.S. District Court in New York, seeks to halt the alleged unauthorized and uncompensated uses of their “creative and other copyrighted works” on YouTube.

The suit claims that from April 7 to April 29, YouTube users illegally uploaded images from 17 Premier soccer matches.

Bourne alleges that third-party users illegally uploaded music renditions of “Let's Fall in Love,” “Smile,” “Inka Dinka Doo,” “Popcorn” and “San Antonio Rose” from July 15, 2006 through Feb. 23, 2007.

The action, which claims Google turned a blind eye to the infringement while recording a $4 billion increase in market capitalization since acquiring YouTube for $1.65 billion in 2006, seeks a jury trial and unspecified monetary damages.

The Premier League, arguably one of the most lucrative sports leagues in the world, is broadcast in 204 countries and claims a worldwide television audience of 2.59 billion people.

Separately, NBC Universal and Viacom Inc. jointly filed an (friend of the court) amicus brief against YouTube's attempt to have a Los Angeles court drop a copyright infringement suit filed last year by L.A. News Service.

Plaintiff Robert Tur claimed his infamous video footage of trucker Reginald Denny being beaten during the 1992 Los Angeles riots had been illegally uploaded.

“Many of NBCU's most valuable copyrighted works have been copied, performed, and disseminated without authorization by YouTube and other similarly operated Websites,” said the brief. “NBCU has a strong interest in preserving the strength and viability of all of its legal rights and remedies in response to such conduct.”

In March, Viacom filed a $1 billion copyright infringement suit against YouTube and Google, claiming 160,000 unauthorized video clips of Viacom content had been viewed more than 1.5 billion times.

Representatives from YouTube and Google were not immediately available for comment.

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