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7/18/2006
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Journalist Sues YouTube For Copyright Infringement

Robert Tur, a reporter and owner of the Los Angeles News Service, argues that YouTube is encouraging copyright infringement by hosting his footage, including the beating of trucker Reginald Denny, on YouTube servers.

A journalist is suing YouTube, alleging that the video file sharing site is airing copyrighted footage.

Robert Tur, a reporter and owner of Los Angeles News Service, filed the suit Friday in a federal district court in California. He argues that YouTube is encouraging copyright infringement by hosting his footage, including the beating of trucker Reginald Denny during the 1992 riots in Los Angeles on YouTube servers.

YouTube prohibits uploading of copyrighted material without permission and claims that is not responsible for material that violates copyright protections. Tur's attorney Francis Pizzulli said during an interview Tuesday that the justification behind the suit is supported by the 2005 U.S. Supreme Court's MGM v. Grokster decision.

Attempts to reach YouTube for comment were unsuccessful.

Pizzulli said he and Tur have not been able to identify all of Tur's content on YouTube because it is impossible to determine the tags all of YouTube's contributors choose for the content they upload.

"It is difficult for someone who is trying to protect their copyrights to have to go on everyday and search the various tags each day," he said. "You would have to get into the minds of each uploader. A couple are tagged without 'Reginald' or 'Denny," Pizzulli said.

Nevertheless, Pizzulli and Tur identified some of the footage and counted how many views it received. They claim that the content they monitored received more than 1,000 hits in less than a week.

Tur is seeking $150,000 for each uploaded submission. Pizzulli said that Tur does not intend to go after the people posting the video but it is possible the lawsuit could evolve to cover other video sharing sites.

Tur said he attempted to reach YouTube's corporate counsel before filing the suit, but he declined to say whether his attempts were successful.

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