Fox subpoenaes YouTube for ID of "24" pirate
www.chinaview.cn 2007-01-29 15:31:28

    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 aired.

    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 from Fox.

    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 users.

    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 this.

    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 Bauer.

    (Agencies)

Editor: Gareth Dodd
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