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Not every claim in the proposed copyright class action against Google’s YouTube will survive, Manhattan federal district court Judge Louis Stanton ruled recently. The unlucky ones include claims for statutory damages for certain foreign works not copyrighted in the U.S. The plaintiffs, represented by Proskauer Rose and Bernstein Litowitz Berger and Grossmann, had argued that the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 exempted foreign works from copyright registration requirements. But Judge Stanton disagreed, citing the act and the legislative history. He also dismissed plaintiffs’ request for punitive damages for alleged willful infringement of foreign works, stating, “There is no circumstance in which punitive damages are available under the Copyright Act of 1976.” Judge Stanton found, however, that the foreign works of live broadcasters are exempted from registration requirements, which means they can bring claims for statutory damages. That’s a good thing for many in the class, like the Football Association Premier League, who are in the broadcasting business. Google is represented by Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati. Proskauer partner Louis Solomon, an attorney for the plaintiffs, told The Wall Street Journal, “We now have clarity in how we have to go prove damages for the balance of the class.” A YouTube spokesperson, meanwhile, told the Journal that “the punitive and statutory damages claims dismissed by the court were baseless from the start.” This article first appeared on The Am Law Litigation Daily blog on AmericanLawyer.com.

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