Fox Looks to Identify YouTube Leaker

Fox is attempting to uncover the identity of a YouTube user that uploaded recent episodes of the network's hit television shows "24" and "The Simpsons" to the service without its permission, a blog reported Wednesday.

Details of a subpoena granted by a U.S. District Judge in San Francisco were first reported by Google Watch. A smaller video site, LiveDigital, also received a subpoena as part of the legal action.

Fox confirmed the existence of the subpoena, but would not comment further. LiveDigital said it had received the request and intended to comply, however YouTube would not comment on the matter.

According to the document, episodes of "24" appeared on YouTube before the season debut on January 14. YouTube was contacted by Fox on January 8, but apparently did not remove the videos in time to avoid legal action.

12 "Simpsons" episodes are also included in the suit, most from the seventh season of the show. The show is now in its 18th season.

The YouTube user who posted the videos was known by the handle "ECOTotal." A BetaNews search of the username on the video site shows that the company has suspended that user. Fox seeks to find the indentity of this user.

Even if ECOTotal is identified, that person may have not been the start of the leak. Even before January 8, press reports indicate the unaired episodes of "24" appeared on file-sharing networks, meaning others could have viewed the content in question before it appeared on YouTube.

Legal experts say that while Google has a history of protecting the users of its services, the law would allow Fox to press for the real identity.

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