Schneider withdraws from YouTube content ID litigation after failing to secure class action status

Photo credit: Javier Miranda

Just a day before the June 13 trial in the now infamous YouTube Content ID lawsuit, Grammy-winning composer Maria Schneider has officially resigned. After failing to achieve much-discussed class action status, the war is over and the case has been voluntarily dropped.

In a strange twist, YouTube and Schneider said in a joint lawsuit that they had agreed to close the case “unconditionally,” meaning the case cannot be reopened.

grammyThe award-winning jazz composer Maria Schneider had already sued YouTube in 2020, accusing the leading video-sharing platform of structurally allowing the infringement of some of her works. Schneider’s lawsuit alleged that YouTube “restricts access to Content ID” for “ordinary” copyright owners like them, allegedly enabling piracy and events a repeated violation. Meanwhile, production houses and labels can access the system’s advanced features, protecting their content from infringement.

YouTube had vehemently denied the allegations, saying the company “goes beyond” when it comes to protecting copyrights, adding that its copyright management tools are so powerful that they “need to be used with caution.”

While the case initially seemed to many to be a turning point that would change the landscape of copyright infringement — and YouTube — forever, the climax was quite the excitement.

In recent weeks, a series of minor successes for YouTube has quickly turned the tables. The death knell for Schneider’s lawsuit came last month when Judge Donato denied the plaintiffs’ motion for a class action on the grounds that “each copyright claim is subject to a defense that requires its own individual investigations.”

As the June 13 trial date neared, Schneider’s legal team made another attempt to obtain class action status, appealing to the Ninth Circuit to dismiss the trial while theoretically overturning Donato’s “wrong” verdict.

This last-minute jump to certification of a class-action lawsuit spelled suicide for the lawsuit and led to Schneider’s withdrawal from the fight.

The joint filing, filed June 11, reads, “Plaintiffs Maria Schneider, Uniglobe Entertainment, LLC and AST Publishing, LTD and defendants YouTube, LLC and Google LLC hereby agree to dismiss the complaint.” All claims that plaintiffs in have filed or could have filed in this action are dismissed WITHOUT PREJUDICE. Each party shall bear its own costs, expenses and attorneys’ fees.”