More Google lawsuits possible
Purchase of video sharing site YouTube may increase company's legal woes.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Google may face more lawsuits once its acquisition of video sharing site YouTube closes, the company said in its latest quarterly report.
In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Google said copyright infringement claims have been filed against its search, video, news and image services, among others.
"In addition, our planned acquisition of YouTube may also subject us to additional copyright claims upon the closing of the transaction," Google said in the statement.
Copyright has been one of the biggest concerns analysts have raised since Google (Charts) bought YouTube for $1.65 billion last month, and many have speculated the acquisition could lead to more legal woes.
But even if Google faces more lawsuits following the completion of the YouTube deal, they aren't likely to have an impact on the company's day-to-day operation, said Trip Chowdhry, an analyst at Global Equities Research.
"We may see some spur in people filing lawsuits but I don't think it will have a material impact because all that copyrighted material can be easily pushed within hours. There's a fix," he said.
So far, YouTube has a good track record of removing copyrighted material at the request of content providers. The site is removing copyrighted material from cable network Comedy Central and has removed clips from sketch comedy show "Saturday Night Live" at the request of GE's (Charts) NBC.
Furthermore, both YouTube and Google are making moves to partner with traditional media companies, which could help them avoid legal fallouts.
While the legal threat posed by YouTube is a big unknown for Google, what may end up being a bigger risk is how users react to if more and more of the material they want is removed from the site.
"No doubt anytime you tinker with a phenomenon like YouTube, you run the risk of alienating your audience, and it's not like there aren't a lot of other alternatives out there," said Gartner analyst Andrew Frank.