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Copyright problems hit video upload sites

I remember talking with a big cheese at 3 (opens in new tab), the 3G mobile phone company, who surprised me by saying that mobile video users upload around twice as much material as they consume.

This perhaps explains the fact that some US video upload sites, such as YouTube (opens in new tab), are hitting the top 10 Web site rankings with a vengeance, with some Internet sources saying that video uploads now account for 15 to 20 per cent of all upstream traffic on the Net.

But YouTube is not without its problems, as the site is now being sued (opens in new tab) by a US TV station which claims it has breached copyright.

However, a number of US newswires quote intellectual property lawyers as saying that the site is almost certainly protected under existing laws.

For the uninitiated, YouTube hosts uploaded video clips of up to 10 minutes in length, and as well as amateur videos (ooOOoooOOO -Ed) it also hosts clips from copyright material.

The Los Angeles News Service claims (opens in new tab) that YouTube has allowed its users to upload and download its copyrighted video footage. The clip in question shows the beating of truck driver Reginald Denny by gang members during the 1992 LA riots.

Although YouTube hasn't commented publicly on the case, a lawyer for the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) (opens in new tab) has said he believes that the site is protected.

The crucial piece of legislation, apparently, is the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (opens in new tab), which was designed to protect commercial Web-hosting services.

However - and this is important - experts agree that the protection of the DMCA disappears if the business receives a financial benefit directly attributable to the infringing activity..