30 August 2022CopyrightStaff Writer

YouTube urges court to dismiss class action suit

Grammy award-winning composer brought the original suit | YouTube bats back claims that ‘ordinary’ content owners are barred from rights management tool.

In a motion for summary judgment, filed Friday, August 26 at the US District Court for the Northern District of California, YouTube argued that the suit—brought by Maria Schneider, a Grammy award-winning composer and musician, on behalf of a proposed class of copyright owners—was time-barred.

The suit was filed in 2020, claiming that ordinary owners were denied access to Content ID, YouTube’s copyright management tool that allows owners to block uploads of infringing works, monetise infringement, and track viewership statistics of infringing works.

It added: “YouTube has facilitated and induced this hotbed of copyright infringement through its development and implementation of a copyright enforcement system that protects only the most powerful copyright owners such as major studios and record labels.”

In August this year, YouTube’s bid to dismiss the lawsuit was denied, with the court concluding that the platform’s “multiple arguments for dismissal are unavailing”.

Now, YouTube has alleged that Schneider’s claims are time-barred. YouTube’s terms of service provide that any claim relating to YouTube’s services be brought within one year of accrual.

And, said YouTube, the governing statute of limitations requires her claims be brought within three years of accrual.

“Schneider admits to having actual knowledge of dozens of her infringement claims years before she sued, and discovery shows she had constructive knowledge of even more," said the motion.

In addition to arguing that the claims were time-barred, YouTube alleged that Schneider’s infringement claims fail because she licensed use of her works on YouTube in at least two different ways.

According to the motion, iIn 2008, Schneider gave her publisher, Modern Works Music Publishing  (MWP) the exclusive right to license her compositions and the publisher then granted YouTube a blanket licence to use on YouTube all works it controlled.

Additionally, said YouTube, Schneider and her agents separately licensed YouTube to use any content they uploaded to the platform under the YouTube Terms of Service Agreement.

“Schneider’s attempts to evade these licenses are specious. For the MWP licence, she claims her publisher did not obtain her specific consent before licensing her works to YouTube. Even assuming that were true, it makes no difference because Schneider’s consent was not a condition precedent to MWP’s right to license her works. The licence is valid and dispositive. And as to the other license, Schneider has said nothing at all,” said the motion.

Schneider has also claimed that YouTube improperly removed copyright management information (CMI) embedded metadata of videos uploaded.

“Her CMI claims fail because she cannot make out a prima facie case and because YouTube was authorised to remove any supposed CMI," said YouTube. “Put simply, Schneider cannot show that YouTube intentionally removed CMI, much less that it did so knowing (or with reason to know) that such removal would foment infringement.”

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3 August 2022   YouTube filed “unavailing arguments” for dismissal | Copyright owners allege lack of access to rights management tool.