A French film company has filed suit against Google in Paris. Google Video stands accused of copyright infringement.
Flach Film says that Google acted as a fully responsible publisher (rather than a passive host) when Google Video users streamed or downloaded the filmmaker’s documentary, "Le monde selon Bush" ("The World According to Bush").
The film, which is no longer available on the French Google Video site, had more than 43,000 views in a short period of time, Flach said. Google Video displays a tally of how many people have viewed each clip.
Flach Film distributes the film for display in cinemas and on DVD. It says that by enabling access to the film for free, Google Video France runs foul of France's intellectual property laws.
Flach is asking the court to require Google to pay for the losses it has incurred by not being compensated for the display of the film on Google Video.
Google quickly removed the film from Google Video once it learned of the unauthorised copies posted on the site, it said in a statement. Uploading videos illegally goes against the terms and conditions of Google Video, Google said.
It's unclear if this suit is the same one that Google revealed during a recent quarterly filing with the US SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission). At the time, Google said that it had been the subject of a lawsuit regarding a single video that briefly appeared on the site.
Google recently purchased YouTube, the popular online video-sharing service, and since then industry observers have wondered if Google might become the subject of costly lawsuits from the owners of content distributed without authorisation on the site.
Google is the subject of other lawsuits that charge the company with illegally posting content. A group of newspaper publishers in Belgium is suing the company for copyright infringement over the way that it posts snippets of stories in Google News. Book publishers are also suing Google over its Book Search offering.