NBC and Fox force Redlasso to shutter video search

NBC and Fox have filed a copyright infringement suit against video distributor, Redlasso, forcing the King of Prussia, PA-based startup to shutter its video clipping and search services.

According to the complaint, Redlasso has distributed video clips of news and entertainment programming such as NBC’s Today Show and Fox’s On the Record with Greta Susteren without obtaining a license or other authorisation. In late May, broadcasters including NBC, Fox and CBS filed a cease and desist order with which Redlasso failed to comply.

Regarding the lawsuit the company says: “We are left with no alternative but to suspend access to our video search and clipping Beta site for the immediate future. The networks have provided a big blow to the blogger community’s right to exercise the first amendment and comment on newsworthy events.”

Redlasso has consistently argued that its Beta site is legal because “clip usage by bloggers is an exercise of first amendment rights to provide social commentary on newsworthy events Other uses… are prohibited contractually by Redlasso.” The company is reportedly very motivated to reach some sort of agreement with the broadcasters because otherwise it may have a hard time raising more funding. According to paidcontent.org, prior to this lawsuit, “the company was looking to raise another round, although at this point, it seems unlikely that any VC fund would come near it.”

Two of Redlasso’s other services, a tracking and clipping service for businesses and the Radio to Web service that allows radio stations to clip and upload its content online, are still up and running. Its business model is based on revenue sharing with content owners, providers and bloggers.

The startup, established last Nov, has raised USD6.5m from investors including Anthem Capital, Osage Ventures, the Guggenheim Opportunity Fund and Pat Croce, former president of the Philadelphia 76ers basketball team. In April the company had 24m unique visitors, 10m video plays and 105m player impressions. Sites that use Redlasso include Huffington Post, Politico.com and AOLFanhouse. Startups such as Voxant also offer similar services but have not been sued. In response to the news of Redlasso’s cease and desist order in May, Voxant CEO Marcien Jenckes says: “Voxant has always believed that copyrights matter. We recognize that Web publishers, advertisers and content providers have everything to win from respecting licensing agreements.”

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Published by Reinout te Brake

Reinout is a games investor and strategic business consultant specializing in the games industry. Reinout established his credentials through his own successful investments, start-ups, consulting and (advisory) board positions that led through time to strong bonds with key stakeholders in this fast paced industry. He is known for his outstanding results in the gaming industry. He has worked with many game studios around the globe and is therefore well known in the international gaming industry. Check out his games podcast; https://www.game-consultant.com

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