The Premier League has hit a road bump in its lawsuit against YouTube.
In the Premier League’s claim, which was filed more than two years ago, it argued that YouTube was profiting from a knowing violation of its copyrights in the league and in footage of games in that league. Now, however, a US district judge has filed an opinion that the Premier League cannot claim statutory damages against YouTube for user-submitted video clips of non-live football matches, even if it proves that the site infringed its rights, because it failed to register its copyrights.
Yes, you read that correctly. The Premier League hadn’t registered its copyright in the United States. Registration is not required to secure copyright, but before an infringement suit may be filed in court, registration with the US Copyright Office is necessary for works of US origin under Section 411(a) of the country’s Copyright Act, according to Out-Law News.
“We think this ruling is a throwback to draconian times,” said William M Hart, a lawyer with the Premier League’s New York-based firm Proskauer Rose. He said an appeal may follow because, while the ruling does not damage Premier League’s case, it sets what he described as an important but unfair precedent for non-US copyright owners “who are equally unaware of the need to register.”
The case is far from over, but it’s a definite step backward for the Premier League in its fight against YouTube.
According to the site PaidContent.org,”The latest ruling in a copyright case brought against Google and its YouTube subsidiary doesn’t move the needle much on the core issue but it means the bill should be lower if—and that’s still a big if—the company loses in court.”
If you’re interested in reading the judge’s opinion regarding the Premier League’s claim, read the legal document below.