YouTube asks court to dismiss jazz composer’s copyright infringement class action

Google and its subsidiary YouTube moved for summary judgment in a case filed by composer Maria Schneider and several other copyright owners, arguing that Schneider’s copyright claims are legally barred. Last week’s motion claims that several defenses stand between Schneider and success, including license and speed.

As previously reported, the plaintiffs alleged that YouTube favored “powerful copyright holders,” such as major studios and record labels, by granting them access to Content ID, “a rights management tool platform that allows owners to block uploads of infringing works, monetize infringement, and track audience statistics for infringing works.”

Under defendants’ two-tier copyright enforcement system, however, ordinary owners are denied access, which would make it “impossible for them to control their copyrights, resulting in widespread hacking and breaching that they cannot meaningfully address.” Explaining YouTube’s alleged motive, the complaint said the platform deliberately limited access to content moderation tools to maximize its “targeted but reckless drive for user volume and ad revenue.”

YouTube searches revealed that there were unauthorized reproductions of Schneider’s work, prompting her to file a lawsuit alleging federal copyright infringement and improper removal of her copyright management information. (CMI).

The lawsuit, filed just over two years ago, survived YouTube’s dismissal offer in early August. Judge James Donato decision upheld claims of copyright infringement. The court rejected YouTube’s arguments to the contrary because the complaint provided sufficient notice of the infringing works, met the applicable standard of pleadings, and was allegedly scientific.

Now YouTube is arguing that it is entitled to summary judgment on Schneider’s claims. The petition first alleges that Schneider licensed the use of his works on YouTube in 2008 through his publisher Modern Works Music Publishing (MWP), granting the platform the right to use all of his catalog of compositions.

Additionally, YouTube states that the composer and her agents have agreed to its Terms of Service, thereby licensing both the disputed works and anything uploaded by them, while allowing YouTube the right to reformat and remove metadata from his works.

Regarding the plaintiff’s CMI removal requests, the online streaming platform also says that Schneider cannot demonstrate that YouTube acted with intent or knowledge that removing CMI would foment an infringement. Finally, YouTube adds that Schneider’s cause of action accrued three years from the time it learned of the infringement, which in the case of some works is well before the lawsuit was filed. .

A motion hearing is scheduled for mid-October.

The plaintiffs are represented by Boise Schiller Flexner LLP and Google and YouTube by Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati PC

Ada J. Kenney