Everyone Loves Lawsuits: Universal Sues Veoh

Universal Music Group is sticking to its guns and suing the Michael Eisner-backed online video startup Veoh over copyright infringement.

Not mincing words, Universal said in a complaint filed today in federal court in Los Angeles:

“Veoh follows in the ignominious footsteps of other recent mass infringers such as Napster, Veoh’s rampant infringement will not stop until Veoh, and those who own, control, and run it, are enjoined and held financially responsible.”

What makes the case more fun is that Veoh pre-emptively counter-sued Universal a month ago. Veoh, like other video-sharing sites, defends itself but arguing that it is protected by the safe harbor provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act because it takes down infringing videos after it receives notice of them from copyright holders.

Update: Veoh sent over a statement on behalf of CEO Steve Mitgang:

“UMG’s action is not surprising and reflects their limited
understanding of Veoh and of the online video space as a whole. Veoh
is recognized by many media companies as a DMCA-compliant company and
is committed to respecting the rights of content owners. In fact,
we’re currently working cooperatively with major media companies and
the MPAA to develop standards for copyright protection. It’s
unfortunate that UMG prefers to continue their pattern of litigation
rather than contribute to the important discussions going on within
our industry.”

UMG has also sued MySpace, Grouper, and Bolt, leading to the latter’s demise.

NewTeeVee contributor Steve Bryant wrote an excellent recap at Reelpop of pending online video litigation earlier this year. And since then, more have piled on to the grandaddy of them all Viacom vs. YouTube, including:

  • National Music Publishers’ Association
  • The Rugby Football League
  • The Finnish Football League Association
  • Author Daniel Quinn.

(List courtesy of CNet)