By Robert Briel
Published: September 23, 2010 17.06 Europe/London
YouTube cannot be held responsible for screening images uploaded on its site, a Spanish court in Madrid said in a case brought by broadcaster Telecinco over alleged copyright infringement.
Google, which owns the video-sharing site YouTube, immediately said the decision is a “clear victory for the internet.” An initial ruling in 2008 backed Telecinco but Google challenged that decision and the Madrid court has now reversed the judgement on appeal.
Telecinco believed that “the broadcast on the (YouTube) internet site of various audiovisual recordings … was a violation of the intellectual property rights of Telecinco,” the Madrid court said in its ruling, made on Monday but released today. But it is “physically impossible to control all the videos that are made available to users, as there are in fact more than 500 million.
“YouTube is not a supplier of content and therefore has no obligation to control ex-ante the illegality” of what is on its site, said the ruling, issued in Spanish. “Its only obligation is to cooperate with the holders of the rights in order to immediately withdraw the content once the infraction is identified.”
YouTube commented on its blog: “The court rejected Telecinco’s claim, noting that YouTube offers content owners tools to remove copyright infringing content and this means that it is the responsibility of the copyright owner – not YouTube – to identify and tell YouTube when infringing content is on its website. 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.”
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