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LOS ANGELES � A federal judge in Los Angeles has refused to throw out a case against YouTube this week in the first substantive ruling to come out of the recent copyright infringement lawsuits involving video-sharing sites. “There is insufficient evidence regarding YouTube’s knowledge and ability to exercise control over the infringing activity on its site,” wrote U.S. District Judge Florence-Marie Cooper, for the Central District of California, in a July 20 order. Robert Tur v. YouTube Inc., No. 2:2006cv04436 (C.D. Calif.). “There is clearly a significant amount of maintenance and management that YouTube exerts over its website, but the nature and extent of that management is unclear.” The judge also noted that YouTube’s system does not “detect or prescreen” alleged infringing videos. The suit, filed a year ago, involves the owner of a Los Angeles news service, Robert Tur, who alleges his footage of the 1992 Los Angeles riots illegally ended up on YouTube. YouTube sought protection from liability under the “safe harbors” of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, specifically that its site does not financially benefit from the alleged copyright infringement and does not have control over the alleged infringing activities. But the ruling wasn’t all against YouTube. In a separate order issued the same day, the judge denied Tur’s motion to toss YouTube’s financial benefit defense, noting that “Tur has not presented any evidence to the Court, despite numerous opportunities to do so, that establishes that YouTube had the right and ability to control the alleged infringing activity.” YouTube’s lawyer, David Kramer, a partner at Palo Alto, Calif.-based Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, and Francis C. Pizzulli, a solo practitioner in Santa Monica, Calif., who represents Tur, did not return calls.

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