How Will Online Video Sites Deal With Liability? Can They Have Their Souflee And Eat It Too?

soufflee.jpgJean-Baptiste Soufron is French, Chief Legal Officer of the Wikimedia Foundation, writes in this recent blog post that “more and more copyrighted content are being uploaded on their servers without the proper authorizations from copyright owners.”

Says Soufron, their content is too often violating third parties copyright or privacy, they expose their users to the same legal threat and their problem will only increase with the new laws that are being passed worldwide….these new companies are trying to build a business without taking the necessary steps to comply with the existing copyright or privacy regulations. There is no need to insist on the danger of this approach, but it is worth pointing out that this development scheme already proved to be quite unsuccessful when looking at the record of Napster, Grokster and others.

How are (YouTube) going to defend against the logic of law if they come with a business model where they don’t respect other’s copyrigth (sic) on one part, and they try to get rights for free from users on the other one? Where will be their legitimacy in front of the Court?

Soufron, whose name sounds like a delicious French desert, offers the following solutions, none of which I understand:

  • Maintaining state-of-the-art filters to avoid the simpliest form of copyright and privacy violations
  • Creating some clearinghouse for copyright and privacy, including some clear explanations of what is allowed and what is not
  • Ensuring legal advices to their users when they are of good faith
  • Work with art service organizations and collecting societies to investigate insurance possibilities, and obtain statement of best practices
  • Investigate opportunities for amending law in order to reduce penalties, to protect good faith users from penalties, to create alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, etc.