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Photo by Wesley Tingey on Unsplash Credit: Wesley Tingey

Last week, we reported on an upcoming trial relating to a lawsuit filed by musician Maria Schneider against YouTube over access to its Content ID tool.

We noted the still-unresolved question about whether it would be allowed to be a class-action lawsuit including tens of thousands of other musicians.

Now that’s been resolved, but not in Schneider’s favour. Billboard reported that the judge in the case has refused to certify it as a class action.

“It has been said that copyright claims are poor candidates for class-action treatment, and for good reason,” they ruled. “Every copyright claim turns upon facts which are particular to that single claim of infringement [and] every copyright claim is also subject to defenses that require their own individualized inquiries.”

Note, though, that the trial is still due to go ahead: it kicks off on 12 June. However, it will only focus on the works of Schneider and two other rightsholders who are also plaintiffs: Uniglobe Entertainment and AST Publishing.

As we reported last week, there has been speculation that a refusal of class-action status would also influence YouTube’s strategy in the trial – leading it to avoid a ‘safe harbour’ defence.

We won’t have to wait long to find out if that’s true. It is important to remember, though, that while being denied class-action status is a setback for Schneider, it does not relate to the specific arguments of her lawsuit: about the lack of direct access to Content ID for independent musicians and music companies.

That’s what the trial will assess, if it goes ahead as planned rather than being settled out of court between now and 12 June.

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Stuart Dredge

Music Ally's Head of Insight