A French court has ruled that YouTube was not responsible for large amounts of copyright protected films and TV shows uploaded illegally to its site.
In 2008, major French broadcaster TF1, brought an action against YouTube claiming €141 million in damages on the basis that YouTube had allegedly hosted TF1’s shows, films and interviews without the consent of the broadcaster, including Grey’s Anatomy and Oscar-winning film La Vie En Rose.
The Tribunal de Grande Instance found that YouTube is not responsible for filtering videos that infringe copyright. Nor is the website obliged to control uploaded content. The court did find, however, that YouTube is required to take measures to remove pirated content once a copyright owner notifies it of an infringement. The decision is in contrast to one delivered by a German Court in April 2012 that ruled YouTube was liable for music videos illegally posted on the site and, in that case, was ordered to install filters to identify when certain music videos are being uploaded.
Christophe Muller, Google’s head of YouTube partnerships for southern Europe, said the French result would permit YouTube to continue to help French artists reach their audiences. TF1, on the other hand, is currently deciding whether to appeal the decision.
This case could be significant not only for similar cases currently on foot against YouTube – including one in the US brought by media giant Viacom and the English Premier League seeking US$1 billion in damages – but also for other content-sharing sites…
As Pinterest grows up, it will face the same problems we all do – making money, keeping it legal, and keeping it real.
Peter Carstairs and Owen Webb