UMG claims it has the right to remove YouTube videos it doesn’t own

Last week we reported that UMG filed a copyright claim and took down the MegaUpload song, despite having no ownership over the content whatsoever. Not only did they do it for the original video, they also aggressively went after any copies that popped up after the original was removed.

The video in question featured high profile artists such as Kanye West, Will.i.am, Jamie Foxx and more singing the praises of the legitimate uses of MegaUpload’s file-sharing service. Shortly after UMG’s aggressive (and persisent) move to block the distribution of the song, MegaUpload moved to take the matter to court, suing UMG and requesting an immediate restraining order.

It was curious, to say the least, that UMG was able to successfully take down content that it didn’t own. A leaked court filing regarding the matter was picked up by Ars Technica sheds some light on the matter, but what the court filing suggests is even more baffling.

According to the document, UMG, as per an agreement with Google, claims that it has the right to take down any video hosted on YouTube, regardless of who owns the content, and for any reason they want to come up with.

The court document reads:

“Your letter could be read to suggest that UMG’s rights to use the YouTube “Content Management System” with respect to certain user-posted videos are limited to instances in which UMG asserts a claim that a user-posted video contains material that infringes a UMG copyright. As you know, UMG’s rights in this regard are not limited to copyright infringement, as set forth more completely in the March 31, 2009 Video License Agreement for UGC Video Service Providers, including without limitation Paragraphs 1(b) and 1(g) thereof.”

Aside from Google and Universal, no one knows exactly what paragraphs 1(b) and 1(g) referenced in the letter actually say. Regardless, it does at least appear that UMG thinks it has the right down to take down any video it wants, regardless of ownership.

We’ll let you know if we hear more.

Source: Ars Technica