A Geneva animal rights group has filed suit against a Colorado rodeo association, claiming it intentionally lied about its videos in an effort to remove them from YouTube.
Showing Animals Respect and Kindness, or SHARK, filed the lawsuit Monday in federal court in Chicago against Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association.
According to the lawsuit, SHARK had posted more than a dozen videos of activities at rodeos throughout the country, including video of rodeo hands using electric prods on horses to encourage their bucking, a prohibited activity according to the lawsuit.
The rodeo group then contacted YouTube, claiming the videos were copyrighted and had YouTube take them down.
"The PRCA knew when it sent the (copyright infringement) notice that it did not own the copyright in any rodeo event documented by SHARK," said the lawsuit, filed by attorney Charles Lee Mudd.
Later, SHARK's lawyers contacted YouTube and explained the videos were not copyrighted by the rodeo group and they were reposted.
The lawsuit claims the rodeo group's action amounted to intentional interference of a contract between SHARK and YouTube as well as an infringement of SHARK's free speech rights.
The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages and a declaration that the videos are not copyrighted by the rodeo group.
Cindy Schonholtz of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association declined to comment, saying the group had not yet seen the lawsuit.