The Library Copyright Alliance (LCA) joined a coalition of public interest and technology groups in an amicus brief (PDF) written by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) asking the Ninth Circuit to reject the arguments made by Universal Music Group (UMG) and affirm the lower court's decision in UMG v. Veoh. The case involves the legal “safe harbor” for online service providers hosting content on the web. The safe harbor protects online service providers from damages liability if a third party using the online service infringes copyright.
In its original decision, the district court found that the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) protected Veoh, a web-hosting service, against infringement claims brought by UMG. Though Veoh took down allegedly infringing material whenever it received a DMCA-compliant notice, UMG appealed the decision to the Ninth Circuit. UMG advanced the same narrow interpretation of the DMCA argued by Viacom (and rejected by the court) in its litigation against YouTube. In particular, UMG argued that once a web host has general awareness that there might be infringing material on the website, the host loses its DMCA safe harbor. The DMCA established a vital safe harbor for online service providers such as YouTube, Amazon, e-Bay, and other services, as well as non-commercial entities such as universities who provide Internet services to the university community.