"Remember Remember the 9th of November -- Google, infringement and plot!"
The AmeriKat did not attend any fairness hearings in New York last Wednesday. Instead she elected to have a shopping trip at Columbus Circle (right) rather than sit in on a “status update” at Manhattan’s Southern District courtrooms (can you blame her?). However, last Wednesday Judge Denny Chin instituted a new deadline for the parties to have a new draft of the Google Book Settlement agreement that isn’t, in her opinion, quite so blindingly anticompetitive and intellectual property infringing. The new deadline is 9 November 2009.
The parties definitely have their work cut out for them.
Although the Google Book fairness hearing did not occur, the Eastern District did not fail to disappoint this week. The Font Bureau Inc., a Massachusetts based graphic design company, filed a claim against major TV channels NBC Universal, Inc, and CNBC Inc., in New York federal court for trade mark and copyright infringement. The Font Bureau designs, creates, produces, markets and licenses the use of computer software in the nature of type face fonts “in digital form for use with personal computers, commercial typesetting and printing devices.” They are also the trade mark and copyright owners of works entitled Bureau Grotesque, Interstate and Antenna. According to the filing, NBC and CNBC allegedly purchased only a limited number of licences to use a number of Font Bureau fonts but then allegedly copied the software to multiple computers in multiple locations not covered by the licences.
Along with breach of contract claim, The Font Bureau is claiming for the usual package of trade mark and copyright infringement damages, including the dilution of Font Bureau’s trade marks and loss of revenue. It is the alleged loss revenue which is the seat-filler on this claim. The Font Bureau is claiming for statutory damages under the Copyright Act in the amount of $2,000,000. The AmeriKat envisages that that amount looks pretty spectacular when written in Bureau Grotesque.
YouTube’s internal emails reported to be the smoking gun
In July the AmeriKat reported on two similar sister cases, brought by Viacom and Premier League against YouTube for copyright infringement. Both sets of complaints centred on infringing content owned by the claimants uploaded on to YouTube’s site by third-party users and YouTube, once notified, not doing enough to remove the infringing content or preventing future infringements. YouTube had defended their actions by invoking the DMCA’s Safe Harbour provisions by arguing they had done enough under the statute to protect the claimants’ copyrights.
As attractive as that argument may have been at the time, emerging evidence is alleged to indicate that YouTube’s employees not only knew about the copyright infringement and ignored the ongoing unlawful activities of its users, but also uploaded some of the infringing content themselves. As reported by CNET, the internal emails that have now surfaced during disclosure between the parties demonstrate that YouTube managers knew about the infringing content but actively decided not to remove the works.
YouTube spokesman Aaron Zamost issued a statement last week that
“The characterizations of the supposed evidence, made in violation of a court order, are wrong, misleading, or lack important context and notably come on the heels of a series of significant setbacks for the plaintiffs. The evidence will show that we go above and beyond our legal obligations to protect the rights of content owners. YouTube had long argued it couldn't parcel out legal clips from pirated material, especially since content companies including Viacom uploaded materials onto YouTube themselves.”These developments follow the announcement by YouTube last Wednesday that, in partnership with broadcast delivery companies Harmonic, Telestream, and Digital Rapids, they have developed new systems that will be able to quickly track segments of live television shows uploaded on to their website. Media organizations will now reportedly be able to send YouTube “fingerprints” of video soon after its production to enable newly uploaded content on YouTube to be recognized as infringing or non-infringing.
Technology formulated by Telestream and Digital Rapids is reportedly used by Time Warner and the BBC to transform video for Internet, mobile, and cable reception. This new system will be a development upon YouTube’s Content ID system launched in 2007 to assist copyright owners in protecting their content unlawfully uploaded on YouTube.
The AmeriKat is interested to receive any further reports regarding the accuracy of CNET’s reports and comments as to how these latest developments will play out in Viacom’s case -- which has yet to go to trial.