YouTube, the uber-popular video-sharing site, was sued for copyright infringement on Friday by Robert Tur, an independent news reporter who claims the site encouraged its users to circulate his legally protected video coverage of the 1992 Los Angeles riots, the Associated Press reports via the LA Daily News.
Tur, who filed his complaint on Friday in U.S. District Court, is known for the video he took from a helicopter of police beating truck driver Reginald Denny during the ’92 riots and for his overhead coverage of the 1994 police chase of O.J. Simpson, according to the AP.
YouTube is a free site that allows any person to post and view video clips.
Tur said in his suit that his footage was posted and circulated on YouTube without consent, and that thousands of people downloaded the content, the AP reports. The reporter also said that the posting is negatively affecting his work and generating unearned advertising revenue for YouTube, and that the company is knowingly encouraging the infringement by enabling users to download the content, according to the AP.
YouTube spokeswoman Julie Supan said Tur did not contact it to request that the video be removed before filing legal action, and that the content was promptly taken off the site as soon as YouTube became aware of Tur’s legal filing, the AP reports.
Supan said in a statement, “It is our intention to work with Mr. Tur, as we work with all copyright owners, to remove any unauthorized works from our site,” according to the AP.
Francis Pizzulli, Tur’s lawyer, told the AP he left messages for YouTube’s attorneys but none was returned.
Tur’s complaint alleges that YouTube went against a 2005 Supreme Court ruling that said Web file-sharing firms could be held accountable for encouraging or persuading customers to infringe on copyrights, the AP reports.
Tur has requested $150,000 for each violation and an injunction to stop YouTube from employing any more of his content, according to the AP.