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Google Facing Legal Action over Videos

A copyright-infringement lawsuit filed in France has renewed concerns by investors that Google's hosting of videos on its sites opens the way for future lawsuits.

The lawsuit reportedly stems from a documentary video that was hosted on Google Video, and is seeking roughly $193,000 in damages, reports Reuters. The lawsuit came to light last week via a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing in which Google listed Google Video among a number of businesses subject to legal action. Google gave no further details, and this lawsuit isn't thought to be connected to Google's recent acquisition of YouTube.

Separately, the technology rights advocacy group Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) said subpoenas had been sent to Google Video, YouTube and another video site, seeking to identify who had posted the documentary video - a film that aired on French TV in 2004 that was critical of Landmark Education, also known as the Landmark Forum. A spokeswoman for the EFF said that she was unaware of any tie between the Google Video lawsuit and the subpoena. She did say that her organization would be siding with Google Video, YouTube and the Internet Archive in that it is seeking to negate the subpoenas.

Google told MediaPost that the video was removed as soon as the complaint about it was received. Though the potential for such lawsuits may concern investors, most legal analysts believe that if Google continues to remove questionable videos when complaints are filed, its legal risk is minimized.

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