The English Premier League has elected to end its long-running legal battle with YouTube over copyright infringement of its content, according to The Guardian.
The UK newspaper, citing documents filed in New York, said the Premier League, along with fellow complainant the French Tennis Federation and several music publishers have dropped the case which was first opened in 2007. The Premier League had taken action claiming extensive copyright breaches through clips that were posted on YouTube of games broadcast by its rights-holders. The League launched a class action in the US, offering other parties the chance to take action against the now Google-owned platform following a separate US$1 billion claim by media owner Viacom.
However, a New York judge in May denied a motion to hear the case as a class action, ruling it was “unrealistic” to consider the claims of the various rights holders in a single case. The Guardian said this ruling means that all sides have agreed to walk away from the action. Under the terms of the “voluntary dismissal”, both sides will pay their own costs. The latest development means that Premier League clubs could now be able to utilise their own YouTube channels to broadcast delayed match highlights having previously been limited to offering behind-the-scenes content and other non-game related footage.
The Premier League has been ramping up its activity in combating content piracy. Indeed, the League last week hailed a “significant win” after the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) secured a successful conviction against a website that had been illegally streaming live games. The individual responsible received a two-year custodial sentence for fraud, the first time a prison term had been handed down to someone illegally exploiting the Premier League’s rights. The League’s legal department worked with FACT from January 2012 to secure the prosecution against the site, which had 10,000 plus subscribers each paying £29.99 a month to access an illegal stream of pay-television broadcaster Sky Sports’ coverage of Premier League matches.