No Trial Today or Ever: YouTube Content ID Lawsuit Dismissed at 11th Hour

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Had everything gone to plan, Maria Schneider's lawsuit against YouTube would've culminated in a jury trial today after almost three years of litigation. The lawsuit began with claims of mass copyright infringement on YouTube, failure to terminate repeat infringers, and denial of access to piracy mitigation tool Content ID. It ended Sunday with the dismissal of the entire case and an agreement that it will never see a courtroom again.

Sad YouTubeAccording to the original complaint filed July 2, 2020, this was a case about “copyright piracy” and how YouTube, the largest video-sharing website in the world, plays host to huge numbers of videos infringing on the rights of copyright holders.

It was a case about how YouTube facilitates and induces a “hotbed of copyright infringement” through its development and implementation of a copyright enforcement system called Content ID, a system that protects powerful copyright owners yet denies ordinary creators any “meaningful opportunity” to enforce their rights.

It was a case about how this system maximizes YouTube’s profits but bars the platform from claiming safe harbor protection under the Copyright Act. Rather than terminating repeat infringers, the system provides them with cover, the lawsuit claimed.

11th Hour Issues Prompt Weekend Filings

Starting today, these claims would’ve been heard before a jury at trial in California.

On Saturday, plaintiffs Maria Schneider, Uniglobe Entertainment, and AST Publishing moved the Court for leave to dismiss without prejudice all of AST Publishing’s claims against YouTube, Uniglobe Entertainment’s claims based on foreign works, and Maria Schneider’s claims relating to Copyright Management Information (CMI).

The plaintiffs had hoped to pursue the litigation as a class action, but on May 22, the Court denied class certification. In their motion filed Saturday, the plaintiffs say this changed their views about how best to prosecute the case; YouTube’s repositioning was on display May 25 when it withdrew its safe harbor defense.

The plaintiffs say they reached an agreement with YouTube for a stipulated dismissal of claims without prejudice, but last Friday, YouTube reversed course.

“Through the good-faith efforts of Plaintiffs, and guided by the advice of the Court, the parties came to an agreement to significantly narrow the issues remaining to be tried before the jury. Defendants should not now be allowed to renege on the agreement that they made with Plaintiffs and that was the basis of the trial plan submitted to and adopted by the Court,” their motion reads.

Jury Trial Scheduled To Begin Today

Following earlier events plus those on Friday, Saturday and finally Sunday, the claims in this lawsuit won’t be heard today, tomorrow, or any other day in the future. After almost three years of litigation, it is all over.

“Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(a)(1)(A)(ii), Plaintiffs Maria Schneider, Uniglobe Entertainment, LLC, and AST Publishing, LTD, and Defendants YouTube, LLC and Google LLC, hereby stipulate to the dismissal of the action,” the parties’ stipulation of dismissal dated Sunday reads.

“All claims that Plaintiffs raised or could have raised in this action are dismissed WITH PREJUDICE. Each Party will bear its own costs, expenses, and attorneys’ fees.”


Related documents can be found here (1,2,3, pdf)


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