17 September 2007

YouTube Privacy Risks

VW 'Nazi' Subpoena Points Up YouTube Privacy Risks.

A legal spat between YouTube and Volkswagen is throwing light on the increasing copyright surveillance of social networking sites.

Volkswagen has filed a subpoena seeking the identity of a YouTube user who posted a Nazi-themed parody of a recent VW Golf commercial. Volkswagen's move underscores the privacy risks to a blossoming community of users on sites like YouTube and Yahoo Video, and social-networking sites like Facebook and MySpace.

Copyright holders and their agents have long been monitoring activity on file-sharing networks such as BitTorrent and Gnutella. Now they're turning their attention to the social networks.

"The social networking sites have definitely become a new focal point," said Evan Cox, a San Francisco copyright attorney who, with his colleagues, issue thousands of takedown notices a year. "As a consequence, they've gotten more focus from copyright owners."

Volkswagen alleges the video violates its copyrights, according to San Francisco federal court documents. The doctored video has been removed from YouTube and is no longer available. The VW subpoena is the first legal step toward what could grow into a copyright infringement lawsuit. Volkswagen did not reply to several messages seeking comment.


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