Exclusive: YouTube Responds to UMG vs. Megaupload

    December 16, 2011

This morning we brought you a story concerning the conflict between Megaupload and Universal Music Group. Last week Megaupload, which has been the target of the RIAA’s and MPAA’s ire for its perceived role in piracy, posted a video in which a number of big-name stars sang about their support for Megaupload. UMG flagged the video via YouTube’s automated content management system. When Megaupload protested and re-posted the video, UMG removed it again.

Challenged to provide proof their right to have the video removed, UMG sent YouTube’s legal department a letter in which they effectively claimed that a special agreement with YouTube meant that they did not need to have a specific copyright claim on a video’s content in order to have it removed via the content management system.

In the course of preparing this morning’s story I sent requests for comment to YouTube, and to Kelly Klaus, the lawyer for UMG who sent the letter. While no response from Mr. Klaus has been forthcoming, I just received a response from a YouTube spokesperson, who had this to say:

Our partners do not have the right to take down videos from YT unless they own the rights to them or they are live performances controlled through exclusive agreements with their artists, which is why we reinstated it.

There you have it. UMG did not have any exclusive agreement with YouTube that would allow them to remove the video.