Another online video aggregator claims DMCA safe harbor defence

8 09 2007

In a move with echoes of an earlier clash between online video aggregator Veoh and Universal Music Group (UMG), DivX has taken pre-emptive legal action against the latter.

Like Veoh’s lawsuit, DivX cites the safe harbor provisions under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which protects service providers and ISPs from copyright infringement by their users. Veoh had placed its bets on the pre-emptive action discouraging UMG from filing its own lawsuit.

Veoh’s hopes on this were dashed last week when UMG did indeed follow through with legal action, blending elements of Viacom’s writ against Google and the music industry’s just concluded lawsuit against Napster, says this report in Wired.

The UMG v. Veoh lawsuit alleges taking “mass infringement on the internet to a new and dangerous level by supplying the public with an integrated combination of services and tools that make infringement free, easy and profitable for Veoh.”

In the spat between DivX and UMG, the handbags are out:

“UMG’s pattern of attacking innovative online service providers is discouraging and will ultimately hinder innovation and the development of new technologies,” said David Richter, executive vice president of corporate development and legal for DivX.

Peter LoFrumento, UMG senior vice president hit back with: “Universal Music Group has been in negotiations with DivX and recently offered them a deal that would address the rampant copyright infringement occurring on their service and fairly compensate our artists and songwriters for the use of their audiovisual works. Universal is committed to supporting innovative new digital services, as evidenced by our deals with YouTube and others…  DivX’s purpose is to build traffic and sell advertising off of unlicensed content that is clearly illegal.”