Google filing reveals video lawsuit

Lawsuit a taste of things to come?

Google revealed that its own online video-sharing service is the subject of a copyright infringement lawsuit, adding to worries that the company may become the subject of expensive lawsuits related to the YouTube video-sharing service it is buying.

In Google's most recent filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, covering the quarter ending Sept. 30, the search giant reports that certain entities have filed copyright infringement claims against Google Video along with several other services including Google News and Google Book Search. The U.S. District Court for Northern California, where Google is based, doesn't reveal any suits related to the video service but the filing could have been made in another court. It is unclear if more than one suit has been filed regarding Google Video.

Google also conceded, in the filing made on Wednesday, that it may be subject to additional copyright infringement suits when its acquisition of YouTube closes. Adverse results from future or existing suits could require Google to pay damages or even compel it to change its business practices, Google warned in the filing.

A Google spokeswoman in London did not have further information about the Google Video case.

Google launched its own video service in the first quarter this year but the service failed to gain much momentum against rival YouTube, one of the most popular online video sites on the Web. In October, Google announced its intention to buy YouTube for US$1.65 billion in stock.

Experts soon began to wonder if video content producers including the big television and movie producers might sue Google once the deal is complete because YouTube often features programs without licensing the right to show them. Just hours before Google announced the deal to buy YouTube, both companies separately unveiled deals with a few content publishers to legally include their content on the respective sites and to work with the sites to root out illegally posted content.

YouTube has made other moves to placate copyright holders. It deleted nearly 30,000 files after a Japanese copyright holders organization complained that entertainment programs on YouTube weren't licensed for display.

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Nancy Gohring

IDG News Service
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