USA Sumo Sues After Competition Ends Up on Japanese Newscast

A copyright lawsuit alleges Tokyo Broadcasting System downloaded the 2018 competition from YouTube.
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The organizer of the 2018 US Sumo Open is suing Tokyo Broadcasting System.

According to a complaint filed Tuesday in California federal court, TBS inquired about licensing footage of the competition. Superama Corp. says it proposed a license fee, but TBS didn't respond.

"Instead," states the complaint, "on January 26, 2019, it became apparent that TBS had downloaded the entire footage of '2018 US Sumo Open – Best Matches with Commentary,' without knowledge consent or permission, from Youtube and then, edited it down and produced a 125 second 'segment' which it then rebroadcasted throughout the country of Japan on its prime-time, highly-rated weekly television program, Shin-Jyoho 7-days Newscaster."

Superama, based in Nevada, wants a California court to rule this to be a violation of copyright. 

Any discussion of fair use (or secondary liability) may first take a backseat to jurisdiction. The complaint states that the "program may have been seen outside of the country of Japan."

Here's the full complaint, which seeks a license fee for the approximately 20 million people who allegedly saw it.

Tokyo Broadcasting System couldn't immediately be reached for comment.