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YouTube must face suit by Grammy winner over rights protection

  • CHRIS PIZZELLO/INVISION/AP / 2016
                                Maria Schneider poses with the award for best arrangement, instruments and vocals for “Sue (Or In A Season Of Crime) ” and the award for best large jazz ensemble album for “The Thompson Fields” in the press room at the 58th annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. Schneider took home a few 2016 Jazz Awards, one for musician of the year and best album for “The Thompson Fields.” She also won for composer, arranger and best large ensemble in voting among members of the Jazz Journalists Association.

    CHRIS PIZZELLO/INVISION/AP / 2016

    Maria Schneider poses with the award for best arrangement, instruments and vocals for “Sue (Or In A Season Of Crime) ” and the award for best large jazz ensemble album for “The Thompson Fields” in the press room at the 58th annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. Schneider took home a few 2016 Jazz Awards, one for musician of the year and best album for “The Thompson Fields.” She also won for composer, arranger and best large ensemble in voting among members of the Jazz Journalists Association.

Alphabet Inc.’s YouTube failed to persuade a California judge to toss out a lawsuit by a Grammy-award-winning composer accusing the video-sharing platform of not protecting her and other “ordinary” creators from unlawful copying and use of their work.

YouTube’s contentions in its motion to dismiss the suit are “unavailing,” US District Judge James Donato said in an order Monday.

Seven-time Grammy winner Maria Schneider, who most recently won two of the prestigious awards in 2021, including in the category of Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album, claimed in her suit that YouTube’s two-tiered copyright policing system only protects “powerful copyright owners,” such as large movie studios and record labels, while leaving small producers to essentially fend for themselves.

Content ID, YouTube’s digital copyright management tool, that ferrets out unauthorized use of copyrighted material are at the heart of the case.

Donato disagreed with YouTube’s argument that the alleged claims are not plausible and that the phrase “these works as millions of other works” in Schneider’s complaint is merely an attempt to allege claims for unidentified works.

YouTube didn’t have an immediate comment on the ruling. But the company has said that it’s committed to protecting intellectual property rights and stopping privacy.

The case is Schneider v. YouTube LLC, 5:20-cv-04423, US District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).

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