• Group Pays $25K for Wrongful Removal of YouTube Videos
  • April 1, 2009
  • Law Firm: Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP - Los Angeles Office
  • A rodeo organization has agreed to pay $25,000 to an animal rights group for wrongly ordering that YouTube take down the group’s video clips.

    In December 2007, YouTube pulled a channel put up by Showing Animals Respect & Kindness, or SHARK, after the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association informed YouTube that it considered the clips to infringe copyrighted material.

    SHARK’s channel featured actual rodeo footage, with provocative titles such as “Horses Illegally Shocked at 2007 Cheyenne PRCA Rodeo” and “Rodeo Bulls--Killers, or Gentle Giants?” SHARK members attending the rodeos videotaped the events depicted, and the organization hoped to raise money during the holiday season through its YouTube channel.

    The rodeo group claimed that SHARK’s clips breached its copyright under the Digital Millenium Copyright Act because it had not authorized SHARK to videotape the rodeos. SHARK complained that rodeos are not copyrighted and YouTube put its channel back up.

    The digital rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation sued the rodeo group for wrongly charging SHARK with copyright infringement in order to chill its “efforts to raise public awareness of animal abuse. . . .and not in order to enforce any perceived copyright interest.”