XBIZ and AVN ran a story recently about Titan Media suing AEBN and Webnovas for copyright infringement.

The website names that might be more familiar in this lawsuit go by the names of Xtube.com (Webnovas) and Pornotube.com (AEBN). Veoh.com (backed by Time Warner) also is named in a previous lawsuit.

These social-sharing websites allow users to upload video clips that other users can view.

There is no review or validation process with the submitted videos, so copyrighted material can and does appear.

Google’s own video offerings have so many copyright materials listed (see search for Futurama).

These websites make their revenue through advertising banners. A Titan video clip on one of these sites could be classified as being “gay content,” and therefore gay-related banners and offerings would show up -- potentially ad banners for the paysites of the companies running the sharing site.

These companies benefit from the eyeball views of stolen material.

The defense that most companies have in this space is to bring out the DMCA. The DMCA provides safe harbor for Internet service providers by saying that if a copyright holder finds their content being used, the website must take it down in a “reasonable period of time.”

Companies who use the DMCA defense will claim they have no way to validate or verify the thousands of videos they receive.

This brings up many interesting related angles, like why does an adult paysite have to do all the 2257 compliance and yet another website can show sexually explicit content with no 2257 compliance?

But the nature of this lawsuit is about copyright infringement as a civil case, whereas 2257 is a federal issue.

Titan Media has been successful in winning copyright infringement cases and settlements against companies like Hustler who have been found to be using their content.

I asked Gill Sperlein (general counsel for Titan) what outcome they are seeking in their lawsuits. He replied, "Titan simply seeks to be compensated for the unauthorized use of its content and to ensure that such use stops. I doubt this can be achieved without a final ruling on the legality of the business model."

The implications of a victory for Titan may require that these sharing communities have to validate video from the copyright owner, which would be extremely burdensome and almost impossible, and may end up shaping the business model.

These websites would have to somehow verify who the copyright owner is (which does goes toward the 2257 issue), which would essentially reduce a significant amount of video content, also crippling the company in the logistics of doing the verifications.

Many big companies like Time Warner jumped into these sharing networks and now have to evaluate the implications of copyright owners rights.

In his new age where “information wants to be free,” we must all realize that information can be expensive, both in licensing and litigation as the young Wld West web meets the rights of copyright owners.