Universal Continues Push For Video Royalties

    February 12, 2007

Last November, Universal Music Group sued Bolt.com alleging various instances of copyright infringement. It appears that the two sides are nearing a settlement agreement that will see Bolt hand over several million dollars in damages as well as agree to pay future royalties on uploaded content that contains music from Universal Artists.

When Google acquired YouTube last October, the search company assured investors on both sides that it had a foolproof plan in place to address potential legal liabilities that could stem from copyrighted material that had been uploaded to the popular video-sharing site.

The only problem is that someone forgot to tell all the media companies about this arrangement.

Universal Music Group, in particular, has been especially assertive in pursuing copyright claims against content sites that make use of work from its artists. The settlement with Bolt could provide precedent for its ongoing copyright infringement case against MySpace.

The popular social networking social has since tried to remove any Universal content from its site and says it is working to develop filters to prevent it from being uploaded at all.

"MySpace is dedicated to ensuring that content owners, whether large or small, can both promote and protect their content in our community,” Chris DeWolfe, the chief executive of MySpace, said in a New York Times article.

“For MySpace, video filtering is about protecting artists and the work they create.”

Officials at Universal Music Group, however, believe that MySpace’s effort to protect Universal’s content is too little, too late.

“The copyright law doesn’t give people the right to engage in the massive infringement of our content to build a thriving business and then, after the fact, avoid exposure by saying they will prospectively start to filter,” says Universal spokesman Peter Lofrumento in the piece.

Now I have to wonder if Google has purchased a giant headache for itself with the acquisition of YouTube.

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