US court denies city government's copyright claim


A California court has dismissed a copyright lawsuit filed by a city government that claimed it owned the exclusive right to distribute videos of its meetings.

In the dispute, City of Inglewood v Joseph Teixeira, the US District Court for the District of California dismissed the city's allegation that a US-resident infringed its copyright.

At the centre of the row are six videos uploaded by Joseph Teixeira onto YouTube under the pseudonym ‘Dehol Truth’.

The six videos are recordings of meetings held by the governing body for Inglewood, a city in south-west Los Angeles County, between 2011 and 2013.

The videos, which Teixeira provides commentary on, target the city’s mayor James Butts.

Teixeira also runs the website, which aims to provide citizens of Inglewood with evidence of what he describes as the “unethical, immoral and illegal misconduct of Inglewood’s current mayor, James Butts”.

The website also provides links to the YouTube videos.

In March 2015, the city sued Teixeira for copyright infringement.

Teixeira claimed that California law prevents the city from asserting copyright ownership to clips of its meetings and that his videos would be protected by the fair use doctrine.

In the latest development, on August 20, the district court granted Teixeira’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit.

Judge Michael Fitzgerald, presiding over the case, wrote: “The court determines that the city is barred as a matter of law from bringing a copyright claim based on the city council videos. Second, even if the city could assert a copyright claim, the accused Teixeira videos constitute fair use as a matter of law.”

City of Inglewood; Joseph Teixeira; copyright; YouTube; videos; fair use; US District Court for the District of California

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