Google wins Spanish YouTube copyright case

A federal court in Madrid has dismissed copyright violation charges brought by the owner of TV station Telecinco, which claimed Google was responsible for videos unlawfully uploaded to YouTube
Written by David Meyer, Contributor

A Spanish federal court has handed Google a victory in one of its ongoing battles with copyright owners over unlawfully uploaded videos.

The broadcast company Gestevisión Telecinco had claimed that YouTube, owned by Google, was liable for copyright infringement because its users uploaded Telecinco material without authorisation. The federal court in Madrid threw out the charges on Thursday, according to a post on Google's European public policy 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," Google's EMEA communications chief, Aaron Ferstman, said in the post.

"This decision reaffirms European law, which recognises that content owners — rather than 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," he continued.

Google has long maintained this stance on copyright-enforcement liability. In July, a US district court judge agreed, throwing out a billion-dollar copyright case brought by the media giant Viacom, which alleged the same liability as did Telecinco.

However, Google has met with less success in Italian courts. In December 2009, Mediaset — owned by Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi — successfully sued Google over similar charges to those brought by Telecinco and Viacom. In February 2010, an Italian court convicted three high-ranking Google executives for privacy violations, after a video of an autistic boy being bullied was uploaded to Google Video.

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