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Net entrepreneur takes on Google

From Reuters

A film studio owned by technology and media entrepreneur Mark Cuban asked a U.S. federal court to force Google Inc. to identify people who put its copyrighted videos on Google Video and YouTube, Cuban said Wednesday.

Magnolia Pictures, whose films include “Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room” and director Steven Soderbergh’s “Bubble,” asked a Dallas federal court to issue a subpoena to Google.

“We don’t expect to get valid user information,” Cuban said. “If we do, we will contact them and ask them what induced them to upload content they don’t own.”

The subpoena was filed March 6. An amended version of the subpoena filed Wednesday asked Google to provide the information by March 20, a court official said.

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“We cannot confirm that we have received a subpoena at this time, however Google complies with valid U.S. legal process, such as a valid court order or subpoena,” a Google spokesman said. “As a matter of policy we do not publicly discuss legal matters.”

Cuban’s action is the latest dispute in the public arena between media companies and the leading online video service.

Media companies have blasted YouTube’s anti-piracy policy. The service says it will remove copyrighted video uploaded without permission if it is notified, per U.S. law.

News Corp.-owned studio 20th Century Fox issued a subpoena to YouTube in January to learn who uploaded pirated copies of episodes of TV shows “24" and “The Simpsons.”

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Failing to reach a distribution deal with YouTube, Viacom Inc. in February demanded the takedown of more than 100,000 of its video clips from the service.

Cuban, who co-founded and sold early online video service Broadcast.com to Yahoo Inc., has been a longtime critic of YouTube. He famously called any potential buyer of YouTube a “moron” over possible legal liabilities of allowing the uploading of copyrighted videos without permission.

Google bought YouTube last November for $1.65 billion.


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