Northern California Record

Sunday, April 5, 2020

California court dismisses suit against YouTube over copyright infringement

Federal Court

By John Sammon | Mar 24, 2020


SAN JOSE – The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on March 13 tossed out a lawsuit filed by a man against the video provider YouTube who accused the company of wrongfully prohibiting his videos because of alleged copyright infringement.

“Because the parties’ agreement expressly authorized the allegedly wrongful conduct, as well as for other reasons stated below, the motion (to dismiss) is granted,” the court brief said.

The plaintiff Erik Mishiyev sued Alphabet Inc., XXVI Holdings Inc., Google llc, YouTube llc and YouTube Entertainment Studios Inc.

Mishiyev accused the defendants of wrongful removal of his videos from the YouTube video-sharing website.

YouTube allows users to upload or view videos for free, in exchange for a nonexclusive license to host users’ videos. Users are able to make money from their videos through YouTube’s AdSense program. YouTube displays advertising in connection with a video and shares advertising revenue with users who upload it.

Mishiyev operated two channels on YouTube, uploading videos of music, DJ programs and celebrity interviews.

“Users viewed the plaintiff’s videos over 110 million times and over 250,000 users subscribed to his two channels,” the court brief said. “Through participation in the AdSense program, the plaintiff reportedly earned more than $300,000 between 2012 and 2018."

In 2019 YouTube terminated the plaintiff’s videos.

YouTube explained that it ended the account due to repeated violations of copyright laws.

The court opinion said YouTube had the power to remove content that allegedly infringed on another’s intellectual property rights.

According to the court document, originally, the plaintiff became suspicious YouTube was failing to distribute videos to his subscribers and threatened litigation. The plaintiff demanded a list of subscribers who watched his videos. YouTube personnel said they could not provide such a list.

In December of 2018 YouTube officials sent the plaintiff a notice they would terminate his account and remove his videos because of the litigation threat.

By this time the plaintiff was allegedly bombarded with copyright claims.

His videos and account were terminated. The plaintiff filed suit in August of 2019.

YouTube had the right to remove videos over allegations of copyright infringement, according to the dismissal. The court also disagreed with the plaintiff’s allegation of negligence by YouTube. The opinion said no independent duty to guarantee reasonable care independent of the agreement existed.

Another plaintiff accusation, that the removal caused future subscribers to be lost, the court discounted as mere speculation on the part of the plaintiff.

The U.S. District Court granted the defendants' motion to dismiss the case.

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