A San Jose federal judge has ruled that video-sharing site Veoh is not guilty of copyright infringement because of protected material that users upload to the site. In its decision, the court ruled that the site isn’t liable for copyright video materials uploaded by users, under “safe harbor” provisions in law, so long as the company removed material when notified by the copyright holder, which the judge said Veoh was doing. The decision has implications in the ongoing battle between YouTube and content producer Viacom. The decision appears to place the responsibility for tracking use of proprietary material on the copyright holder, while file sharing sites gain the benefit of having the illegal material until they are “notified.” Veoh does fingerprint videos to prevent an identical future upload and it has suspended a number of user accounts due to frequent copyright postings. The Viacom suit may re-frame the conversation around “lost revenue” and the sharing of money the sites make through the illegal use of protected materials. It looks like a game of cat and mouse is taking shape that will drive content owners to rapidly license their materials to avoid lost revenue.
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