uTube Amends Complaint, Accuses YouTube Co-Founders of Racketeering

Night Court is now in session: Universal Tube and Rollform Equipment Corporation has amended its original complaint against YouTube to include racketeering charges against Chad Hurley and Steve Chen, GoogleWatch has learned.

The amended complaint, filed in late December, accuses Hurley and Chen of violating the Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations (RICO) laws, arguing that the two co-founders knowingly manage a business built on copyright infringement, and that accidental traffic from that business interferes with the operation of Universal Tube's Web site at utube.com.

The amended complaint also includes exhibits that show videos on YouTube of 50 Cent, Black Eyed Peas, Kelly Clarkson, Greyhoundz, Sammy Hagar and U2 that allegedly violate copyright (links are from the complaint), and charges YouTube with unauthorized trafficking in sound recordings.

The complaint also provides additional detail about YouTube's copyright difficulties with Viacom, Paramount and Universal, and argues that YouTube's negotiations with these companies are proof that YouTube is willfully violating the law.

"Universal Music Group has been in talks for some time with YouTube and has advised them of their infringing acts long ago," the complaint reads. "Recently, YouTube entered into a licensing agreement with UMG which further indicates that YouTube knew of its legal duty to license the works it was infringing for so many months prior to the agreement. Upon information and belief, YouTube has also entered into licensing arrangements with other copyright owners further evidencing the fact that YouTube is aware of its legal duties with respect to copyright infringement, yet YouTube chose to ignore them until they were caught. Based upon the foregoing, Hurley and Chen have conducted the YouTube enterprise through a repeated pattern of violations of 18 USC §2319."

Universal Rollform's amended complaint also repeats the previous charges of unfair competition, trademark dilution, trespass, nuisance, negligence and deceptive trade practices.