Youtube may be responsible for the content posted by its users

Les plateformes numériques, comme l’hébergeur de vidéos américain Youtube, peuvent être tenues responsables des contenus contraires aux droits d'auteurs postés par leurs usagers
Digital sites such as the American video host YouTube may be responsible for copyrighted content posted by their users (Martin BUREAU / AFP / Archives).

Digital sites such as the American video host YouTube could be held responsible for copyrighted content published by their users, European Justice ruled Tuesday.

The European Court of Justice (CJU) has ruled that sites can be questioned if they contribute to this content “beyond the simple arrangement of the site and to provide access to the public”.

“They have a solid knowledge of publishing protected content and avoid destroying or blocking access to it,” he said.

Hosts must ensure that “appropriate technical measures are in place” to deal with potential violations in a “reliable and effective way”, CJU said.

European judges were arrested by the German Constitutional Court, particularly in connection with a case between YouTube and a German music producer.

Frank Peterson, who owns the rights to British soprano Sarah Friedman’s concerts, was seeking damages from the American company because videos of the singer’s performance were posted on YouTube.

The case, which has lasted nearly ten years, will be referred to German justice, which will determine YouTube’s responsibility for the decision of European judges.

Another lawsuit was filed by the Dutch publisher Elsevier Group against Ciando, a digital file distribution site.

However, the CFEU spokesman, AFP, said the ruling would have only a “limited long-term purpose” due to the “New European Order on Judgment”.

The European Union adopted the new law in 2019, which increases the obligations of sites in this area, but this does not apply in this case after the law.

Section 17 of this order requires sites to pay content producers through license agreements.

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In the absence of a contract, hosts must place “preventive measures to ensure that unauthorized works are not available.”

Google, the owner of YouTube, contacted AFP only to confirm that “users are in favor of getting paid at their fair value”.

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About the Author: Cory Weinberg

Cory Weinberg covers the intersection of tech and cities. That means digging into how startups and big tech companies are trying to reshape real estate, transportation, urban planning, and travel. Previously, he reported on Bay Area housing and commercial real estate for the San Francisco Business Times. He received a "best young journalist" award from the National Association of Real Estate Editors.

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