The decade-long running litigation between the record labels and video-streaming service Vimeo may be slowly grinding to an end. Fresh off the heels of its appeals victory in which the Second Circuit held that the safe harbor provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 (the “DMCA”) include sound recordings made before 1972 (so-called Pre-72 recordings), Capitol Records, LLC v. Vimeo, LLC, 826 F.3d 78, 81 (2d Cir. 2016), cert. denied, 137 S. Ct. 1374 (2017), Vimeo can add another notch on its belt.
In addition to copyright infringement claims, which the Second Circuit’s decision mooted by the safe-harbor provisions of the DMCA, the record labels also sued under state unfair competition law. Vimeo moved to dismiss the unfair competition claims as similarly barred by the DMCA because “the phrase “infringement of copyright” confers protection against all state-law claims that seek to vindicate rights abridged by infringement of pre-1972 sound recordings, no matter what the claim is called under state law.” (emphasis in original). The district court held in Vimeo’s favor, finding that “if Vimeo is liable to Plaintiffs for unfair competition on Plaintiffs’
theory, Vimeo will necessarily be liable for the infringement of copyright. The DMCA safe
harbor therefore applies to Plaintiffs’ unfair-competition claims to the extent that Vimeo
otherwise meets the statute’s requirements.”
There are still claims regarding 59 videos that Vimeo had “red flag” knowledge of infringement, so those claims will continue.
The opinion and order is below: