In 2007, a division of Universal Music Group, Inc. sued Veoh, claiming the company had an affirmative duty to remove infringing content uploaded by users of Veoh.com. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit disagreed, ruling that Veoh cannot be sued for copyright infringement under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and that rights holders (like UMG) are better situated to identify and flag pirated content.
In Corporate Counsel's January 26, 2012 article, "Rounding Up the 10 Biggest IP Litigation Wins of 2011," the firm's representation of Veoh, a now-defunct video-sharing site, was included as one of the ten biggest IP litigation wins of 2011. As reported by Corporate Counsel: "That ruling deals a blow to media conglomerate Viacom Inc., in its pending appeal to the Second Circuit of a similar copyright infringement ruling it lost to YouTube in 2010."
On February 13, 2011, Law360's article, "How They Won It: Winston Wins Copyright Shield For Veoh," explains how Winston & Strawn attorneys were able to prove to the courts that the DMCA's safe harbor conditions not only protected Veoh's activities, but were absolutely vital to the growth of the Internet, as well as many other benefits, such as those to education, entertainment and the economy.
"Had we lost, it would have placed a significant damper on innovation and investment in technology," Winston & Strawn partner Thomas Lane stated, adding that the outcome had the potential to completely change the face of the Internet.
Intellectual property partner Michael Elkin, based in Winston & Strawn's New York office, was lead counsel for Veoh and argued the case before the Ninth Circuit. Partners Thomas Lane and Jennifer Golinveaux, and associate Erin Ranahan, assisted in representing Veoh in the matter.