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Legal Ruling Allows Record Companies to Pursue Vimeo for Copyright Infringment

September 20, 2013  |  2:45pm
Legal Ruling Allows Record Companies to Pursue Vimeo for Copyright Infringment

According to The Hollywood Reporter, a New York federal judge has officially tightened the reins on user-generated video website Vimeo in regards to music copyright infringements.

The situation in question began back in December 2009 when Capitol Records and several other music labels filed legal action against Vimeo, claiming that the site failed to halt numerous videos that employed copyrighted recordings by their artists, including The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Daft Punk, Radiohead and Beyonce. The issue was never whether the videos actually violated copyright but rather if the company took enough preventative actions to avoid liability.

Though Vimeo held that it was free of liability due to the tenants of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Judge Ronnie Abrams denied this defense for 55 of the 199 videos brought up in the suit. Reportedly, these 55 presented situations where Vimeo employee either knowingly uploaded videos that used copyrighted music themselves or had documented interactions with users that did (comments, likes, etc.) and still failed to take the video down. In the 56-page ruling that Abrams released, he called the site’s alleged knowledge of these incidents a “triable issue.”

Despite the negative effect that the case had on Vimeo, there were also some positive results. For one, Abrams dismissed the record company’s claims that Vimeo has not established an adequate monitoring system or repeat infringer policy.

“It is difficult to imagine how Vimeo’s staff of seventy-four [as of 2012] could, through its discretionary and sporadic interactions with videos on the Website, exert substantial influence on approximately 12.3 million registered users uploading 43,000 new videos each day,” the ruling read.

The judge also claims that there is no triable issue in regards to pre-1972 music and granted the website “summary judgment” on the matter.

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