The New Jersey Turnpike Authority (NJTA) is suing several video sites, including YouTube, for infringing on copyrighted car crash footage recorded on the turnpike.
I've seen the video in question. It's pretty grisly. You can go find it if you want. Shows a car smacking into a toll plaza in Jersey. The 52-year old driver died. Besides YouTube, the NJTA is also suing NextPoint, the parent company of Break.com.
The complaint names LiveLeak as a defendant too, but according to co-founder Hayden Hewitt, the NJTA voluntarily removed his company from the suit after the video was removed.
Hewitt said the lawsuit is guaranteed to bring more publicity to the video.
"To be honest I think it's kind of a strange situation," he said. "Usually you just file a nice, low level, discrete DMCA takedown...And usually these lawsuits are around entertainment video, where there's a financial stake. I don't understand it."
The NJTA is suing for direct copyright infringement by public performance, public display and reproduction, as well as inducement, contributory and vicarious copyright infringement.
Despite the grisly nature of this particular lawsuit, there's not much new here. YouTube is protected by the DMCA. But something like this, if given enough press locally in NJ/NY, could bring some pressure from the states' governments onto YouTube, for whatever that's worth.