Vimeo wins U.S. appeal in music copyright case

Thu Jun 16, 2016 9:05pm EDT
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By Nate Raymond

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Video-sharing website Vimeo LLC cannot be held liable for copyright infringement for unknowingly hosting older music uploaded by its users, a U.S. appeals court ruled on Thursday, dealing a blow to record labels seeking broader protections.

In a victory for internet service providers, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York also held that the mere fact that Vimeo employees had viewed videos with copyrighted sound recordings was not enough to prove the company ignored red flags of infringement.

The case, pursued by Capitol Records and Sony Corp units, was closely watched in Silicon Valley, with Vimeo's appeal drawing support from Facebook Inc, Twitter Inc, Alphabet Inc's Google, and other companies.

"Today's ruling by the Second Circuit is a significant win for not just Vimeo, but all online platforms that empower creators to share content with the world," Michael Cheah, Vimeo's general counsel, said in a statement.

The Recording Industry Association of America, the labels' trade group, said in a statement it was disappointed with the ruling, which it said came despite evidence showing Vimeo's company policy was to look the other way.

"Now, more than ever, it is clear that Congress needs to act to fix a law enacted in the days of dial-up Internet connections," the group said.

A lawyer for Capitol Records, a unit of Vivendi SA, and the Sony units declined to provide immediate comment.

The case focused on the interpretation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, or DMCA.   Continued...