YouTube hits back in Maria Schneider Content ID lawsuit

Photo credit: Mitchell Luo

YouTube has officially retaliated against Grammy-winning jazz composer Maria Schneider and several other parties suing for alleged discrimination by Content ID.

This latest development in the years-long courtroom confrontation was recently revealed in a nearly 50-page filing – including multiple counterclaims – from the Google subsidiary. In short, Maria Schneider and other plaintiffs argue that rightsholders without “economic influence” are being denied access to Content ID “for prepublication protection,” even if their works have been infringed on the service. sharing videos “thousands of times”.

(Schneider has long spoken out against Google’s business practices and considerable influence, in addition to the perceived threat posed by some byproducts of technological growth, including at his orchestra concerts.)

Earlier this month, YouTube unsuccessfully tried to have the case thrown out, before battling with Schneider and others over the precise scope of the data disclosures needed. And now, as initially reported, the platform has issued a formal response and a series of counterclaims.

Perhaps the most interesting part of this in-depth response is YouTube’s claim that its “new copyright management tools are so powerful that they should be used with care.” (The document also reiterates upfront that the defendant gave up “well over a hundred million dollars to launch industry-leading copyright management tools like its Content Identification System.” )

“These special tools allow users to automatically (or at the push of a button) remove content from YouTube or prevent it from appearing in the first place,” the firmly worded response reads. “Misused or in the wrong hands, these tools can be used to censor videos that others have every right to share via YouTube.

And relying on the idea that YouTube “rightly limits access to Content ID”, the response continues to target (and impose the aforementioned counterclaims against) a company called Pirate Monitor, but not the current plaintiffs. .

In short, YouTube and Google claimed in late 2020 to have identified a “smoking gun” involving Pirate Monitor, which was originally a plaintiff in the lawsuit but dropped out of the case in early 2021. ( Several additional plaintiffs later joined Schneider in the action, as pointed out.)

Said smoking gun specifically refers to “a fraudulent scheme to gain access to YouTube’s copyright management systems”, including “using false identities and/or agents” to upload nearly 2,000 videos featuring media that Pirate Monitor allegedly owns, and then demanding (via DMCA requests from Pirate Monitor itself) the removal of the videos.

“Pirate Monitor and Csupó [the entity’s California-based ‘sole decision maker’ and ‘alter ego’] violated the law”, relays the counter-action. “Either they lied to YouTube when they uploaded the videos in the first place, or they lied when they asked for them to be removed.

“Their misrepresentations were intended to mislead YouTube into believing they could be trusted not to abuse YouTube’s powerful copyright management tools, including Content ID. And their machinations hold them accountable to YouTube for breach of contract and fraud or, alternatively, violations of DMCA Section 512(f).

Elsewhere in the voluminous filing, YouTube pointed out that it “could not find business registration information for a ‘Pirate Monitor LLC’ anywhere in the world”. As of this writing, the counter-defendant does not appear to have issued a public response to the action.

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