Published in News
Universal sued for abusing copyright law
by Nick Farrell on14 December 2011
Forced YouTube to take down video in favour of file-sharing
Universal Music is being hit with a federal lawsuit accusing it ofabusing copyright law to force YouTube to remove a video of popular hip-hop stars.
The stars including Kanye West made a video singing the praises of the popular file-sharing site Megaupload. YouTube last week dropped the 4-minute video after it received two takedown notices under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Ira Rothken, Megaupload’s attorney, said in a telephone interview Tuesday that Universal engaged in a “sham” takedown to prevent pop stars from applauding a file-sharing service.
He pointed out that it was impossible to claim a copyright in a performance of artists singing that they love Megaupload. The way things are stacked in the US is that online service providers like YouTube lose their legal immunity for their users’ actions if they don’t remove allegedly infringing content if asked to by rights holders. Universal said the first takedown notice was intended to protect the rights of one of its musicians New Zealand songwriter-singer Gin Wigmore. But Megaupload’s brief says Wigmore isn’t even in the video.
A second takedown notice came from will.i.am, of the Black Eyed Peas. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Mr Iam had never given permission for his appearance in the video, which shows him singing: “When I’ve got to send files across the globe, I use Megaupload.” Why he said such a thing is not really clear.
Rothken, who is seeking unspecified damages, is demanding a judge order YouTube to restore the video.
Here is the video by the way