Timothy B. Lee
Saturday, December 17, 2011
Universal Music Group has responded to Megaupload’s request for a temporary restraining order barring the music giant from further interference with the distribution of its “Mega Song.” UMG insists that it had a right to take down the video—not under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, as Megaupload had assumed, but under a private contractual arrangement between UMG and YouTube.
UMG’s filing raises more questions than it answers. Most obviously, the firm has not explained why it took down the video in the first place. But the filing also raises deeper questions about UMG’s effort to essentially opt out of the DMCA takedown rules. UMG seems to believe it can take down videos even if it doesn’t hold the copyright to them, and that when UMG takes a video down from YouTube, the owner of that video can’t avail herself of even the weak protections against takedown abuse provided by the DMCA.
A different kind of takedown
As we discussed on Thursday, UMG casts Megaupload as a major villain in the war over illegal file-sharing. Last week, Megaupload sought to bolster its image by releasing a pop-star-studded promotional video. UMG’s takedown request was an unexpected publicity coup. Megaupload took full advantage, suing UMG on Monday and asking the judge for an immediate restraining order to prevent UMG from further interfering with the video’s distribution.