A federal court in Madrid decided today that YouTube isn’t liable for uploads that infringe others’ copyrights. The matter at hand was a lawsuit brought forward against the video sharing site by the Spanish broadcaster Telecinco, which alleged that YouTube broke local copyright law by enabling users to upload clips from Telecino’s programming.
The Guardian reports that Telecino sued YouTube in 2008, also alleging that the site profited from its users’ infringements. The court rejected these claims and instead affirmed that it is the responsibility of the copyright owner to tell YouTube about instances of infringing content. It also pointed out that YouTube has filtering technology available to automate the take-down process.
YouTube Europe spokesperson Aaron Festman wrote about the decision on Google’s European policy blog:
“This decision reaffirms European law which recognizes that content owners (not service providers like YouTube) are in the best position to know whether a specific work is authorised to be on an Internet hosting service and states that websites like YouTube have a responsibility to take down unauthorised material only when they are notified by the owner.”
Unfortunately for YouTube, European law isn’t very uniform. Google lost a court case in Germany earlier this month, with a Hamburg-based court ruling that YouTube has to do more advanced filtering of uploaded content. Google said that it is going to appeal that ruling.