Business Matters: Veoh Wins UMG Copyright Infringement Case
Business Matters: Veoh Wins UMG Copyright Infringement Case

Veoh Wins UMG Copyright Infringement Case
-- An appeals court has affirmed a lower court's ruling that online video service Veoh is protected by the DMCA's "safe harbor" that limits digital service providers' liability for the infringing activities of their users. A judge ruled in favor of Veoh in Universal Music Group's lawsuit in August 2008.

In UMG Recordings v. Shelter Capital Partners, the United State Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit disagreed with UMG's argument that Veoh could lose "safe harbor" protection through its general knowledge of copyright infringement occurring on its service. It found that Veoh had an automated software system that processed user-submitted content and streamed it to users without direct supervision or participation. And it found that UMG did not show that Veoh failed to quickly remove infringing material when made aware of it -- a prompt response is a requirement of the DMCA. In fact, UMG did not send to Veoh any DMCA takedown notices before the lawsuit.

So in a nutshell, the court ruled that UMG needed evidence that Veoh failed to act when it had direct knowledge of copyright infringement, and the fact that its service could potentially be used for infringement is not enough to merit a guilty verdict in a copyright infringement case.

But the legal victory is an empty one for Veoh. The service shut down in February 2010, calling the costs of UMG's lawsuit "the main killer." Veoh's assets were acquired the following month by Qlipso, which currently operates a video service at the domain.

Veoh was a video site in the mold of YouTube. Under the terms of service, users who uploaded videos pledged to "own or have the necessary licenses, rights, consents, and permissions to use and authorize Veoh to use all … copyright or other proprietary rights" in all content shared to the service.

UMG had filed a lawsuit against Veoh in September 2007 for direct, vicarious and contributory infringement, and for inducement of infringement. The company alleged that Veoh employed filtering technology too late and to too few videos, and it argued that upon notice of infringement Veoh removed only the video associated with a particular URL rather than all URLs associated with a particular video.

Fighting Piracy In Ireland
-- Ireland's government will soon allow record labels, music publishers and other creative content owners to go to court to prevent ISPs from allowing their users to access websites that offer pirated material. According to a report at Irish Times, Minister of State for Enterprise Seán Sherlock will publish the order in January. The Department of Enterprise, Innovation and Jobs has reportedly written to EMI Music Publishing confirming the order will soon be published.

Since 2008, record labels have sued numerous ISPs in Ireland in hopes of blocking Internet users' access to certain websites. Eircom settled with record labels in 2009 and agreed to work closely with record labels in a graduated response system for reducing its subscribers' infringing activities. But the three strikes scheme was recently stopped by the country's Data Protection Commissoner, which set the stage for next month's order by the Minister of State for Enterprise.
(Irish Times)

Live Nation Expands Into Korea
-- Live Nation announced this week it launched a concert promotion office in Seoul, South Korea. Live Nation Korea is a fully owned subsidiary of Live Nation and will be led by Steven Kim and Yongbae Cho, both veterans of the Korean live music and promotion business.

"We see great opportunity for concerts around the world and our move into South Korea represents another step in the growth of this business," Live Nation Entertainment president/CEO Michael Rapino said in a statement. "Our strategy is to continue our international expansion into under penetrated regions and identify new markets to deliver our unique live experience product."

Live Nation Korea is just the latest in a string of deals that expands the company's global footprint. In November, Live Nation announced its entry into Portugal via promoters Ritmos E Blues and Better World. In 2010, according to the company's annual report, Live Nation increased its ownership in Live Nation France Festivals, Amsterdam Music Dome Exploitatie B.V., Live Nation Middle East FZ-LLC and Italian joint venture Get Live 2, and it fully acquired Live In Italy. On the ticketing front, the company acquired Spanish ticketing company ServiaCaixa in February and French ticketing company Ticketnet in November 2010.

Facebook Users Don't Like Being Sold Something
-- Note to bands and brands: a good portion of Facebook users say they don't like being sold something. New research from NM Incite (a Nielsen McKinsey company) finds that 39 percent of Facebook users have un-friended somebody because they were trying to sell something. The most common reasons for un-friending a person was offensive comments (55 percent) and not knowing that person well (41 percent).