U.S. District Judge Ronnie Abrams has denied Vimeo’s request to be exempt from prosecution under the safe harbor provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and will now be subject to litigation by the major record companies.

This user generated content web site features lip dub videos, on which recordings can be heard playing whilst individuals lip sync to the lyrics found in these recordings. But the judge also claimed that 144 of the 199 videos should not be included in the legal action.

Of the 199 videos only 55 were confirmed that have been known about by Vimeo staff, who commented, liked or uploaded these videos. And Vimeo argues that this staff may not have realized that the content infringed copyright, also arguing that they should not be held responsible for the actions of their employees.

I’m also assuming that “fair use” will come into play if the videos are satirical or comical. But I guess we’ll be hearing more about this case as those 55 videos are slowly reviewed.