NBC sides with Viacom in YouTube copyright cases

NBC Universal has joined Viacom in court to force YouTube to filter copyright protected content from its video-sharing Web site.

The Viacom-NBC alliance, revealed in a U.S. district court filing in California, came as YouTube was served with a class-action copyright violation suit filed by English football’s Premier League in New York.

The league’s case was filed on behalf of copyright owners “whose works were reproduced, distributed, publicly displayed, performed or otherwise transmitted or disseminated on Youtube.com without authorization,” according to court documents.

NBC and Viacom are also backing Los Angeles newsman Robert Tur, who filed suit against YouTube for letting users post his video of trucker Reginald Denny being beaten during riots in Los Angeles in 1992. The jointly crafted brief filed in the Tur case was the first time NBC took copyright concerns about YouTube to court.

Google and YouTube lawyers want the Tur case be dismissed on the grounds that the Web site is protected by the DMCA, which simply requires it to remove copyrighted material after owners complain.

NBC and YouTube announced a strategic partnership launched last June. They described themselves as partners in efforts to devise ways for YouTube to protect copyrights of film and TV show owners.

In March, Viacom filed a billion-dollar lawsuit against YouTube, accusing it of illegally showing clips from its TV shows.