VIDEO SHARING WEBSITE Youtube has had copyright infringement charges against it dropped by Spain's federal court in Madrid.
The case was brought by Spanish broadcaster Telecinco, which claimed that Youtube was liable for user uploaded videos that contained copyrighted content. The owner of Youtube, and just about everything else on the web it seems, Google said the decision was a "clear victory for the Internet and the rules that govern it".
Youtube already has procedures in place for copyright owners to identify and notify the website of any videos that allegedly breach copyrights. The Spanish federal court's decision follows European Union law, which states that the onus of notification is on content owners not websites such as Youtube. Once notification has been made, it then becomes the responsibility of the website, in this case Youtube, to remove the allegedly infringing content.
If Youtube had to screen videos prior to making them available, it is likely that the viability of the entire operation would come into question. Google claims that 24 hours of video are uploaded to Youtube every minute and having to pre-screen all of these uploads would cause Youtube to "grind to a halt."
Throughout its statement of victory, Google was careful to say that it respects copyright laws. It even talks about ContentID, a system that it claims "prevents copyright abuses and gives owners control over their content". Apparently many broadcasters already use ContentID throughout Europe, allowing them to not lose out on potential revenue should their copyrighted videos be uploaded to Youtube.
It's likely that as case law builds up in favour of Youtube, other broadcasters will realise that going to court against an equally well-funded outfit that is simply offering them a chance to make even more cash isn't really such a good idea.
This latest European court victory for Youtube should help Google turn the web's most popular video sharing website into a profitable venture. µ
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