Music Publishers Lose Class Status Bid in YouTube Suit

A federal judge denied class-action status to music publishers who sued Google Inc. (GOOG)’s YouTube, claiming that it violated copyrights by allowing the posting of music clips on the website without authorization.

U.S. District Judge Louis Stanton in Manhattan today denied a motion for class certification by individual publishers.

“Plaintiffs offer no explanation of how the worldwide members of this proposed class are to be identified, how they are to prove copyright ownership by themselves or by their authorized agent, or how they will establish that defendants became aware of the specific video clips which allegedly infringed,” Stanton wrote in his opinion.

The suit, filed in 2007 by music publishers and a U.K.- based soccer league, is a companion to one brought by Viacom Inc. (VIAB) that year against YouTube for copyright infringement. Google reached a settlement of claims by the National Music Publishers Association in 2011.

Stanton last month granted YouTube’s motion for judgment without a trial and dismissed Viacom’s suit, saying YouTube was protected from liability by the safe-harbor provision of copyright law because it removed infringing videos when notified about them.

This case is Football Association Premier League Limited v. YouTube Inc., 1:07-cv-03582, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

To contact the reporters on this story: Don Jeffrey in New York at djeffrey1@bloomberg.net; Patricia Hurtado in New York at pathurtado@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha mhytha @bloomberg.net.

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