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Anti-YouTube Copyright System Case Stumbling

YouTube, the second most visited website in the world (after only its parent, Google), is currently facing a lawsuit regarding the company’s copyright protection program. The action was commenced by Maria Schneider, a musician and advocate for musicians’ rights and copyright, and Pirate Monitor Ltd., an anti-pirating (software, not boats) organization. They brought a class action against the video giant last year on behalf of a proposed class of small copyright owners, alleging that YouTube’s copyright systems prioritizes enforcing the rights of large companies while allowing smaller content creators’ content to be infringed.

On the 13th December 2021, YouTube brought a motion to dismiss to the San Francisco federal court, alleging the plaintiffs are “hiding the ball,” repeatedly changing their claims, prejudicing the defendant’s ability to defend. Allegedly, the plaintiffs did not identify all the works they are suing over, adding new copyright to the case “whenever they please.” YouTube claimed a “potpourri of pleading problems” in the Plaintiffs’ First Amended Complaint, including an alleged failure to establish ownership of at least 13 claimed copyrighted works.

Pirate Monitor Ltd has since voluntarily dismissed its claims with prejudice, amid allegations the company fraudulently attempted to gain access to YouTube’s Copyright System. The alleged actions include hiring individuals in Pakistan to upload thousands of copied videos, then reporting the videos for a DCMA takedown, sometimes before the videos got even a single view. YouTube is still pursuing counterclaims against Pirate Monitor and its founder, Gábor Csupó, arguing the company is simply his alter-ego.

The hearing is currently scheduled for 10 March 2022.

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