BEIJING, Jan. 29 (Xinhuanet) -- News Corp.'s Twentieth Century Fox has
subpoenaed Google's YouTube to reveal the identity of a user who uploaded
four pirated clips from the season premiere of the popular television show
"24" as well as 12 episodes of "The Simpsons."
The "24" clips were made available on YouTube before the episodes had
Twentieth Century Fox filed the subpoena on Jan. 18 in the U.S. District
Court for the Northern District of California. It requests the online video
sharing site make available identifying information about the YouTube user so
Fox can take steps to stop the infringement.
The subpoena reads: "On or about January 8, 2007, Fox became aware that a
subscriber ("The Subscriber") of YouTube Inc.'s internet-based service uploaded
pirated copies of the works onto YouTube, making it available for illegal
viewing over the internet to anyone who wishes to watch it.
"Fox has not authorized this distribution or display of the works. The
subpoena request YouTube, Inc. to disclose information sufficient to identify
the Subscriber so that Fox can stop this infringing activity."
LiveDigital, another video sharing site, has also received the same request
In both subpoenas, Fox alleges the trademark-infringing "24" videos were
"pirated copies" of this season's first four episodes, aired Jan. 14-15 on Fox,
released on DVD Jan. 16. Both programs were available on YouTube and
LiveDigital Jan. 8.
So far, problems of this ilk have been ironed out once the video content
breaching copyright policies was erased from the site, but this time around Fox
is going one step further, by asking for the user's IPs.
Each time there was a similar situation, YouTube was adamant, emphasizing
that it was not responsible for its users’copyright breach.
In May, before its 1.65 billion U.S. dollar acquisition by Google,
YouTube complied with a Paramount Pictures request to identify a user who
shot his own unauthorized short film adapted from the screenplay of the Oliver
Stone film "World Trade Center."
YouTube belongs to Google now, a company that didn't hesitate to fight with
the Department of Justice when asked to provide certain information about its
Ever since the takeover, Google has been trying to avoid copyright related
problems, last year's agreement with Universal Music Group standing as proof of
UMG had threatened to sue YouTube and MySpace, a site belonging to the same
owner, News Corporation, as 20th Century Fox. A decision from YouTube to reveal
the user's identity could become an interesting precedent from a legal point.
And if lawyers and judges can't answer the question -- is YouTube
responsible for its video content or does this responsibility belong solely and
entirely to the users -- maybe they should put in a call to CTU agent Jack