YouTube wins in court ruling on copyright breaches by users – POLITICO


Google’s video-sharing platform YouTube was Tuesday handed a victory in a ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union over breaches of EU copyright rules.

The court said platforms cannot be held liable for users uploading unauthorized works, although they do hold responsibility for taking action to remove or block access.

The decade-old dispute pit the U.S. platform against a record producer who sought damages from the platform because recordings he said he owned were re-uploaded online without his consent. The judgment also covers a second case in which publishing group Elsevier brought an action against file-hosting service Cyando.

In both cases, the complainants said the platforms held the rights over content that was made available online by users. The EU’s copyright directive from 2001 hands authors the exclusive right to greenlight or prohibit “any communication to the public of their works.”

But the court found that “online platforms do not themselves make a communication to the public of copyright protected content illegally posted online by users.”

The court said platforms such as YouTube don’t engage in such an act “unless those operators contribute, beyond merely making those platforms available, to giving access to such content.” That would cover scenarios under which an operator knew illegal content was available but held back from deleting it or blocking access to it.

The court also found that platforms are freed from liability under an exemption granted by the e-commerce directive of 2000.

The ruling doesn’t take into account the new EU copyright legislation adopted in 2019 or the upcoming Digital Services Act.

This article is part of POLITICOs premium Tech policy coverage: Pro Technology. Our expert journalism and suite of policy intelligence tools allow you to seamlessly search, track and understand the developments and stakeholders shaping EU Tech policy and driving decisions impacting your industry. Email [email protected] with the code ‘TECH’ for a complimentary trial.

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