LONDON: A San Francisco federal court on Monday denied YouTube LLC's request to throw out a contentious lawsuit brought by a group of content creators who say the video-streaming giant only protects the interests of large copyright owners like major studios and music labels.
US District Court James Donato said YouTube failed to show that he should dismiss the lawsuit filed by “ordinary” copyright owners, led by Grammy-winning composer Maria Schneider, at an early stage of the case.
YouTube's attorneys and its parent company Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday. Attorneys for the plaintiffs also did not respond to a request for comment.
Schneider sued YouTube in 2020 on behalf of a proposed class of small copyright owners, arguing the platform only protects large copyright owners from infringement while allowing pirated content from others in order to draw in users. The group said major companies have access to YouTube's advanced Content ID software to scan for and automatically block infringing content, while individual creators are left “out in the cold.”
YouTube raised several arguments last year to dismiss the case. It told the court that the group had not identified all of the copyrights they were suing over, and said the plaintiffs claimed the right to add new copyrights to the case “whenever they please,” making their claims a “moving target.”
The company also said the group did not show that it owned some of the copyrights at issue, and that it failed to register others before suing.
Donato said Monday that YouTube's arguments were “unavailing.” The judge said the lawsuit identifies specific works whose copyrights YouTube allegedly violated, which was enough to give YouTube “fair notice” of the claims.
Donato also rejected YouTube's arguments based on the group's alleged failure to show copyright ownership and registration.