YouTube Sued by English Premiere League for Copyright Infringement

Plaintiffs including England's Premier League sued Google's online-video sharing site YouTube on Friday for copyright infringement, marking the second big legal challenge to YouTube.

According to court documents filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, the Football Association Premier League, better known as the English Premier League, and music publisher Bourne Co. sued YouTube.

The lawsuit charges that YouTube deliberately encourages massive copyright infringement on its Web site to generate public attention and boost traffic. This has resulted in the loss of valuable content, the complaint said.

"Defendants, which own and operate the Web site, have knowingly misappropriated and exploited this valuable property for their own gain without payment or license to the owners of the intellectual property," the lawsuit said.

Last month, media conglomerate Viacom filed a similar lawsuit against YouTube and its parent, Google, alleging "massive copyright infringement" and seeking damages of more than $1 billion from the defendants.

The latest lawsuit seeks a court-ordered injunction to prohibit the defendants from continuing to violate various copyright protection laws.

The complaint says YouTube has engaged in a "deliberate strategy of ... facilitating copyright infringement" in order to build traffic to the site.

It says that Google was aware of this pattern infringement when it paid $1.65 billion to buy YouTube and subsequently saw an increase of around $4 billion in Google's market capitalization in the weeks that followed.

It argues that these amounts "vastly understates" the value of the plaintiff's intellectual property and the harm to plaintiffs represented. The Premier League is seeking class-action status on behalf of media copyright holders hurt by YouTube.