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Cuban's film studio subpoenas Google

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A film studio owned by technology and media entrepreneur Mark Cuban asked a U.S. federal court to force Google to identify people who put its copyrighted videos on Google Video and YouTube, Cuban said on Wednesday.

Mark Cuban answers questions from the media at the NBA Dallas Mavericks Media Day in Dallas, Texas, October 2, 2006. A film studio owned by technology and media entrepreneur Mark Cuban asked a U.S. federal court to force Google to identify people who put its copyrighted videos on Google Video and YouTube, Cuban said on Wednesday. REUTERS/Mike Stone

Magnolia Pictures, whose films include “Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room” and director Steven Soderbergh’s “Bubble,” asked a Dallas federal court to issue a subpoena to Google.

“We don’t expect to get valid user information,” Cuban said in an e-mail correspondence. “If we do, we will contact them and ask them what induced them to upload content they don’t own.”

The subpoena was filed on March 6. An amended version of the subpoena filed on Wednesday asked Google to provide the information by March 20, a court official said.

“We cannot confirm that we have received a subpoena at this time, however Google complies with valid U.S. legal process, such as a valid court order or subpoena,” a Google spokesman said in a statement. “As a matter of policy we do not publicly discuss legal matters.”

Cuban’s action is the latest in a string of disputes between media companies and the leading online video service that has spilt into the public arena.

Media companies have blasted YouTube’s anti-piracy policy. The service says it will remove copyrighted video uploaded without permission if it is notified, in accordance with U.S. law.

News Corp.-owned studio Twentieth Century Fox issued a subpoena to YouTube in January to learn who uploaded pirated copies of episodes of TV shows “24” and “The Simpsons.”

That subpoena was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

Failing to reach a distribution deal with YouTube, Viacom in February demanded the takedown of more than 100,000 of its video clips from the service.

Cuban, who co-founded and sold early online video service Broadcast.com to Yahoo, has been a long-time critic of YouTube. He famously called any potential buyer of YouTube a “moron” over potential legal liabilities of allowing the uploading of copyrighted videos without permission.

Google bought You Tube last November for $1.65 billion (854 million pounds).

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