In what may turn out to be a harbinger of good news for YouTube, a federal court in California held that the Veoh video sharing service is not responsible for copyrighted content posted on its site.
Dismissing the suit brought against Veoh by adult video firm Io Group, the court agreed with Veoh's defense and found that the site is protected by the safe harbor provision in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. In other words, as long as the folks at Veoh take down videos the copyright owner has told them are copyrighted, they don't have to worry about the other ones.
The Washington Post reported that Google immediately issued a statement in favor of the ruling. Is anyone surprised, given that Google's YouTube service is currently involved in a similar suit with Viacom? Google chief counsel Zahavah Levine said:
It is great to see the Court confirm that the DMCA protects services like YouTube that follow the law and respect copyrights... YouTube has gone above and beyond the law to protect content owners while empowering people to communicate and share their experiences online.
The difference between the Veoh case and the early peer to peer infringement cases like Napster, the court said, is that there is no evidence that Veoh was encouraging infringement, nor was there evidence that Veoh could control what users posted before they did so.