YouTube sued again for copyright infringement, in class action by English Soccer league + US music publisher

May 6, 2007

News: On Friday of last week, May 4, YouTube and Google were sued again for copyright infringement, this time by the Football Association Premier League Limited, England’s top soccer division that broadcasts soccer matches to 204 countries, and Bourne Co., a music publisher in the U.S. that owns the copyrights to “Inka Dinka Doo,” “Let’s Fall in Love,” “Popcorn,” “San Antonio Rose,” and “Smile.” The complaint is here.

Analysis: I’ll be studying the Complaint more carefully, but here are some of my initial impressions. First, it’s a very odd pairing of the two named plaintiffs, the Premier League (an English soccer division), and Bourne, a U.S. music publisher.

Second, the two plaintiffs have alleged the infringement of only a small number of their works on YouTube (17 soccer match broadcasts and 5 musical works).

Third, the real wildcard, legally speaking, is that the plaintiffs are seeking to certify a class action against YouTube, meaning that they hope to assert copyright claims of all other similarly situated copyright holders. Class actions typically are raised in mass tort or mass consumer fraud contexts. A court has to approve or certify a class action before it can proceed forward. This is the real big issue in this case.