YouTube is responsible for, yet not liable for, user-uploaded videos on its service, according to two separate court rulings in Germany this week.
Google-owned YouTube has been in dispute with German performing rights organisation GEMA since 2006.
On Tuesday, the Munich district court rejected GEMA’s bid for compensation – the collecting agency had demanded €0.375 per view of videos from artists it represents. GEMA wanted YouTube to pay out €1.6 million based on a sample of 1,000 videos.
Meanwhile, in the Higher Regional Court in Hamburg, judges decided on Wednesday that YouTube is responsible for user-uploaded content... as a “disrupter”. The court said that although, as a so-called host provider, YouTube is not directly responsible for the content, it must nonetheless take reasonable steps to remove legally protected works from its German platform when informed of any rights violations.
GEMA, which represents around 70,000 members, said this ruling was good for artists.
“YouTube cannot escape the responsibility for copyright infringements and control of infringements must not pass on to the rights owner,” said GEMA CEO Harald Heker.
The collecting society is still deciding whether or not to appeal the ruling on compensation before the Munich Higher Regional Court. Google said its door was open to resolve the issue through negotiations rather than through the courts. ®