Spanish Court Rules in Favor of YouTube in Copyright Case
According to a Spanish court ruling on Thursday, Google’s YouTube cannot be held liable for copyright infringement. The action was brought by a Spanish broadcaster Telecinco. The ruling follows a similar American ruling that came down in June, which rejected copyright infringement claims brought by a media company Viacom. The U.S. court’s ruling held that YouTube was not liable as long as it removed copyrighted material from its website following notification from the rights holder. The Spanish court similarly held that YouTube did not have to screen clips for potential violations before uploading them.
Google called the victory a “clear victory for the Internet”, and said that the decision confirms European law, which says that content owners are in the best positions to identify infringing material and notify websites that allow such postings. Google also claimed that the ruling strikes a proper balance between upholding the rights of copyright owners and allowing Internet service providers to operate. They explained that forcing Internet websites to monitor all material uploaded to their sites would cause them to come to a sudden halt. While YouTube has now scored victories in the U.S. and Spain, it still faces suits in many other European nations.
The Spanish court ruling is a prime example of choosing practicality and efficiency over the rights of individual copyright owners. The Internet is and vast and complex realm, where copyright infringement takes place every day. The only effective means of regulation right now is to put the burden on copyright owners to keep track of their works. Theoretically, this may seem like the best solution to the problem of copyright infringement on the Internet. However, the reality is that most copyright owners are not willing to spend the time and energy policing the Internet for possible infringements of their works.
For more on this story see: “YouTube Can’t Be Liable on Copyright, Spain Rules”, by Eric Pfanner.