If a user uploads copyright-violating content on YouTube, can the video platform be held legally responsible? The European Union’s highest court, in a major ruling, said no – unless the platform doesn’t take prompt action to remove or block access to the content, Reuters and Bloomberg said.
“As currently stands, operators of online platforms do not, in principle, themselves make a communication to the public of copyright-protected content illegally posted online by users of those platforms,” the European Court of Justice said.
But if YouTube is aware of the illegal content on its platform and doesn’t act quickly, then it might find itself in hot soup. The court also noted that platforms could be liable if they don’t install the appropriate technological tools to stem copyright violations or if they offer tools for illegal content sharing.
#ECJ : As currently stands, operators of online platforms do not, in principle, themselves make a communication to the public of #copyright protected content illegally posted online by users of those platforms #YouTube
— EU Court of Justice (@EUCourtPress) June 22, 2021
Responding to the ruling, YouTube was quick to point out its investment in state-of-the-art copyright tools that “have created an entirely new revenue stream for the industry.”
“In the past 12 months alone we have paid US$4 billion to the music industry, over 30% of which comes from monetised user generated content,” said a YouTube spokesperson.
The EU court ruled on a case that originated from a lawsuit filed by music producer Frank Peterson against YouTube and Google in Germany. In 2008, users apparently uploaded to YouTube several phonograms he held rights to.