Monday, November 27, 2017

Video removal notices can’t be defamatory, says YouTube | UNLIMITED | CMU


YouTube last week said that the Californian federal court should bring to an end a three year libel lawsuit being pursued against it by music company Song Fi Inc because of a recent ruling in another case in the state’s appeals court.

Song Fi Inc sued YouTube back in 2014 after the Google site moved one of its videos over suspicions that the music firm may have used some nifty tech trickery to artificially boost said video’s stats. The shifted video was for the track ‘LuvYa LuvYa LuvYa’ performed by Song Fi chief Stephen C Sieber’s group Rasta Rock Opera.

The lawsuit focused on the notice YouTube posted on the page that had originally hosted the shifted video, which stated that the content had been removed because of a violation of the site’s terms of service. That, argued Song Fi, was defamatory and damaged Rasta Rock Opera’s reputation, mainly because its video featured children and the notice suggested, it reckoned, that the video had contained illegal or improper content.

The libel litigation has been rumbling on ever since, though a concurrent claim of fraud against YouTube was dismissed by the court last year. Now the libel claim should be dismissed too, reckoned the Google company last week, because of the precedent set in another case focused on whether YouTube content removal notices can be defamatory to the creator of the removed content. That case was called Bartholomew v YouTube.

According to Law360, in a motion calling for summary judgement in its favour in relation to the Song Fi dispute, YouTube stated last week that: “Bartholomew held that the notice, whether on its own or combined with the guidelines, was not capable of conveying a defamatory meaning and was not a statement ‘of and concerning’ the plaintiff”.

It also added that: “The generic nature of the notice only underscores why it is not defamatory and thus provides no basis for either liability or damages”.

More specific to this case, YouTube also argues that Song Fi has not named any specific individuals who inferred that its content removal notice suggested there was inappropriate material in the Rasta Rock Opera video, while also disputing claims that the notice hindered the music company’s relations with its business partners.

It remains to be seen how the court now responds.


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