GooTube is facing a potential class action lawsuit as the Premier League Ltd. in England and Bourne Co., an independent music pubisher, have banded together to file a law suit against them and are encouraging other content-owners that have had videos put up on YouTube to join in the suit.
The lawsuit stated that the "Defendants are pursuing a deliberate strategy of engaging in, permitting, encouraging and facilitating massive copyright infringement on the YouTube Web site."
Lead attorney in the case, William Hart of Proskauer Rose in New York, said, "From what I understand, YouTube will provide filtering to parties who are willing to license their content to YouTube on terms that are acceptable to YouTube. YouTube is not offering filtering to content across the board. Although they say it's coming to larger copyright owners, they already acknowledge they have this technology for a preferred group, but they're not doing that, and should, for other copyright owners."
The defense Google (GOOG) has used in all these cases has been that it complies with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which only requires them to take down material when they're notified that it's been illegally put up.
Viacom (VIA-B), who may eventually become part of the possible class action suit, said in response to Google using the DMCA as a defense: "This response ignores the most important fact of the suit, which is that YouTube does not qualify for safe harbor protection under the DMCA. It is obvious that YouTube has knowledge of infringing material on their site, and they are profiting from it."
In the end, this will probably be the decision that the courts will be asked to make: does knowing that the material will be put up on their site disqualify YouTube from DMCA protection? Whatever the courts decide will determine the future conduct of YouTube and its users.