July 19, 2006

A man named Tur inspires hordes of YouTubers to add a "d" to his name.

Robert Tur, who could have just asked YouTube to remove the video someone had uploaded, instead left it there and then sued demanding $150,ooo for each of the 1,000+ viewings that occurred. YouTube took the video down when the lawsuit called attention to the problem.

Well, we knew eventually someone would sue YouTube, but could it be anyone less sympathetic then a guy who once got lucky and was there with a camera when someone else was getting beaten up?


El Mas Chingón said...

Does anyone know if this lawsuit has merit? This sounds like a dumb question, but honestly I don't know. I'm just thinking of all the videos I've seen of TV show clips, sporting events, etc.

knoxgirl said...


I don't get it.

Maxine Weiss said...

Tort Reform.


Peace, Maxine

XWL said...

Maybe it's Drobert that bothered him so?

(knoxgirl already covered Robertd)

(although Rodbert might be a good porn name, and Robdert sounds like a direct to video sequel of Joe Dirt)

Bruce Hayden said...

Tort reform has nothing to do with this. This is supposedly under the the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), passed with support of the entertainment and computer industries - though it looks to more like regular copyright infringement, instead of a DMCA violation.

The problem is that money talks, and the content owners have a lot at stake here, and so have spent a bunch of it lobbying Congress. They aren't always successful, esp. when they go up against other entrenched interests, like the computer manufacturers. But here, like the Micky Mouse Protection Act, money talks, and they get their legislation. (The Mickey Mouse Protection Act, also known as the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act, or, more formally, as the Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998, pushed copyright term up by 20 years, to life+20 for individuals, or 95 for all others. One of the big sponsers was Disney, as the original Micky Mouse cartoons were nearing the end of their copyright term. This added 20 years to the Disney franchise).

SteveWe said...

How would this situation be resolved?

Abel Printers has a state of the art intaglio press. It's better than the presses used by the US Bureau of Engraving and Printing. Abel is contacted by Shifty Brown who wants to use Abel's press for eight hours next Tuesday night. Brown wants to employ his own staff to run Abel's press and also asks that no one from Abel be present during the press run due to security requirements.

Abel agrees. Shifty Brown's minions crank-off $6 million in 20s. The Feds were watching and arrest Shifty, his minions, and Abel's owners and managers.

Abel's defense is that "they didn't know" and it "wasn't their responsibility to police Shifty."

As I see it, YouTube seems to own and operate something not so different than Abel's press. And they let anyone operate the "press." Is YouTube guilty of a crime? Has YouTube abetted illegal activity? Or, is YouTube blameless because they have a valid defense? (And what defense is that?)

Inquiring, non-lawyer minds want to know.

ChrisO said...

As a non-lawyer, it would seem to me that YouTube has a bit of a problem because they have deleted other videos for copyright infringement, so they can't really claim that they don't see it as their responsibility to enforce copyrights.

Maxine Weiss said...

Non-lawyer here, also---and proud of it!

YouTube has a terms of service agreement that everyone must sign on.

Nobody reads the fine print, but it states that they can remove content for any reason, or no reason at all.

Whatever videos they've removed in the past, they might have any number of reasons not related to copyright.

BOTTOM LINE: YouTube is not a service provider; they are simply a file sharer. They are like a hallway, or corridor,

Actually, a better analogy is a self-parking lot. You park your car, but the lot isn't responsible for anything that happens to your car (theft etc.) while parked in that lot. They are simply providing a lot to park, not liability.

It's right there on YouTube's terms of service, which nobody reads.

Peace, Maxine

Robert said...

SO we might say, Maxine, that YouTube is one of a "series of tubes". Snort.

Adam said...

Fred von Lohmann of EFF wrote an article in the Hollywood Reporter, esq about YouTube and Copyright. Check it out here:


Tibore said...

Oh, for the love of GOD, people! Not his first name!!




Ann Althouse said...

Maxine: It's not a matter of fine print! When you go to the upload page, there is not much writing and right at the point where you go to choose your file to upload, it says in boldface "Do not upload copyrighted material for which you don't own the rights or have permission from the owner." I think that's very clear. They take things down when they receive complaints from copyright holders. I strongly believe that should be enough. Copyright is supposed to be about the public interest, and YouTube is a great, great free service that makes it possible to share lots of stuff that people own and want to share. Copyright holders should not be allowed to bring YouTube down. What Tur is doing is plainly greedy, overreaching to the detriment of the general public. He should lose. I wish YouTube well.

Jennifer said...

Is there anyone in America who has not seen the Reginald Denny footage? Aside from the whole YouTube-isn't-responsible platform, what on Earth was lost by 1,000 people watching the footage again?

BrianOfAtlanta said...

Oh! As in DTur's Dance Party! Now, I get it!