NEW YORK–LAWFUE – The law Newswire –The Football Association Premier League Limited, the premier league of English soccer, and independent music publisher Bourne Co. filed a class action lawsuit in federal court in New York today to stop the unauthorized and uncompensated use of their creative and other copyrighted works and those of all other similarly situated copyright holders on the YouTube.com website. The lawsuit names as defendants two YouTube affiliates (YouTube, Inc. and YouTube LLC) as well as YouTube’s corporate parent, Google, Inc.
According to the complaint filed earlier today in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York: “Defendants are pursuing a deliberate strategy of engaging in, permitting, encouraging, and facilitating massive copyright infringement on the YouTube website” in order to build traffic to the site. The complaint alleges that the YouTube defendants have long been aware of this pattern of massive infringement yet purposefully refrain from employing readily available measures to curb it because the defendants understand that the popularity of YouTube.com (and its value as a platform for other uses) derive primarily from the ability of website visitors to access, view, and otherwise exploit copyrighted materials without having to pay the owners of those materials. The complaint further alleges that it was this very business model that persuaded defendant Google to pay $1.65 billion to purchase YouTube in November 2006, and that Google has endorsed and directed YouTube’s infringing conduct since becoming its corporate parent. Says the complaint: “The $1.65 billion paid by Google to purchase YouTube in 2006, and the concomitant $4 billion increase in Google’s market capitalization, vastly understates both the value of the intellectual property rights of the Class that YouTube has misappropriated and the harm to the Class caused by Defendants’ unlawful conduct”.
The lawsuit seeks a court-ordered injunction to prohibit the defendants from continuing to violate various copyright protection laws. The lawsuit also asks for unspecified damages for YouTube’s past copyright violations. A copy of the complaint can be found at www.youtubeclassaction.com
The Premier League and Bourne plan to prosecute this case as a class action on behalf of themselves and thousands of others whose copyrighted works have appeared on YouTube.com without permission. The Premier League is the top division of English soccer that is broadcast in 204 countries worldwide and viewed by audiences estimated at 2.59 billion people. Bourne is one of the leading independent publishers of music in the United States. Among its notable classics are “Let’s Fall in Love” and “Smile”.
To represent their interests and those of the prospective Class, The Premier League and Bourne have retained two nationally known law firms, Proskauer Rose LLP and Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann LLP. Founded in 1875, Proskauer is one of the Nation’s oldest and largest law firms, with a long history of successfully representing content producers such as musicians, playwrights, and sports leagues in all media, including print, TV, video, and DVD. Bernstein Litowitz is the nation’s preeminent affirmative class action firm, and in the past five years alone has recovered over $12 billion on behalf of the classes it has represented. The Proskauer team is led by New York-based partners, Louis M. Solomon (co-chair of Proskauer’s Litigation Department), and William M. Hart, who specializes in copyright. The Bernstein Litowitz team, based in New York, is led by the firm’s co-managing partners, Max W. Berger and John P. (“Sean”) Coffey.
A hotline for copyright owners who have had their works appear on YouTube.com has been established at 1-866-725-0516. Other inquiries should be directed to Mr. Solomon at 212-969-3200 or Mr. Coffey at 212-554-1409. Other pertinent information can be found at www.youtubeclassaction.com