Google Wins YouTube Case Against Spanish Broadcaster

This does seem like kind of a silly lawsuit; YouTube offers plenty of opportunities for copyright holders to complain if they feel that their material is being used unfairly …

Google wins case against Spanish broadcaster that claimed YouTube had damaged its business

Google has won a landmark ruling against Spanish broadcaster Telecinco, with a Madrid court rejecting the claim that the US search giant should be held responsible for copyrighted material posted to its YouTube video sharing website.

Google hailed the case as a big win for the internet. The court threw out Telecinco’s case, filed in June 2008, and ordered the broadcaster to pay Google’s court costs.

Telecinco had claimed YouTube was damaging its business by airing TV shows before they had been broadcast in Spain, arguing that Google “profits from the exploitation of intellectual property rights”.

In the ruling against the broadcaster, the Spanish court said it was the responsibility of the copyright owner to identify and tell Google when material that infringes intellectual property is on YouTube, noting that the site has tools allowing this to happen.

A Google spokesman said: “We are very pleased with today’s ruling. The win today confirms what we have said throughout this process: YouTube complies with the law. The ruling recognises that YouTube is merely an intermediary content-hosting service and therefore cannot be obliged to pre-screen videos before they are uploaded.”

Aaron Ferstman, Google’s head of communications for YouTube in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, commented in a post on the company’s European public policy blog: “This decision demonstrates the wisdom of European laws. More than 24 hours of video are loaded on to YouTube every minute. If internet sites had to screen all videos, photos and text before allowing them on a website, many popular sites – not just YouTube, but Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and others – would grind to a halt.

“We have always been open to working co-operatively with rights holders and continue to grow our number of partnerships with content owners and hope to be able to work with Telecinco in the future in the spirit of copyright protection, content distribution and new opportunities.”

In June this year Google won a similar case against US media conglomerate Viacom, which accused the company of allowing copyrighted material on its YouTube service. A Manhattan judge threw out the $1bn lawsuit, saying Google could not be held liable for having a “general awareness” that copyrighted videos might be posted to the site. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

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