Youtube partly liable for copyright breaches: Austrian court

June 7, 2018
Video-sharing platform YouTube can be held partly liable for copyright breaches in videos uploaded by its users, an Austrian court has ruled

An Austrian court has ruled that video-sharing platform YouTube can be held partly liable for copyright breaches in videos uploaded by its users, in a ruling that may have far-reaching implications.

In a judgement issued on Tuesday and confirmed to AFP on Thursday, Vienna's commercial court said that YouTube had played an active role in spreading such content and therefore could not claim the status of "neutral intermediary", according to the ruling cited by the Ploil-Boesch law firm.

The firm is acting on behalf of Austria's Puls 4 television station, which brought a case against YouTube in 2014 over the unauthorised presence of its content on the site.

Puls 4 and its lawyers said they had established YouTube's complicity in spreading the content through a "painstaking" analysis of how the site works.

The court found that because of the 's "links, mechanisms for sorting and filtering, in particular the generation of lists of particular categories, its analysis of users' browsing habits and its tailor-made suggestions of content... YouTube is no longer playing the role of a neutral intermediary".

"YouTube must in future—through advance controls—ensure that no content that infringes is uploaded," it added.

According to Puls 4, if the decision is upheld on appeal it could be an important landmark in defining the responsibility of sites like YouTube in the field of .

"The media companies who call themselves social networks will have to recognise that they too have to take on responsibility for the with which they earn their millions," said the head of Puls 4, Markus Breitenecker.

Austrian media quoted YouTube as saying it takes copyright protection "very seriously" and that it would study the judgement closely, while not ruling out an appeal.

The judgement comes as the European Union discusses possible reforms to to ensure news publishers and artists are better compensated for their work when it appears on online platforms.

Among the measures being considered in Brussels is forcing video-sharing sites like YouTube or Dailymotion to introduce technology to identify and delete songs or other audio-visual works which have been flagged by .

Explore further: Egypt's top court orders temporary suspension of YouTube

Related Stories

German rules against YouTube in rights case

April 20, 2012

(AP) -- A German court has ruled that online video platform YouTube must install filters to prevent users from uploading some music videos whose rights are held by a music-royalties collecting body.

German court rules against YouTube over copyright

September 3, 2010

(AP) -- A German court ruled Friday that Google Inc.'s subsidiary YouTube LLC must pay compensation after users uploaded several videos of performances by singer Sarah Brightman in violation of copyright laws.

YouTube wins piracy case against Spanish TV

September 23, 2010

YouTube cannot be held responsible for screening images uploaded on its site, a Spanish court said on Thursday, throwing out a case brought by a local TV channel over alleged copyright infringement.

Recommended for you

Printing microelectrode array sensors on gummi candy

June 22, 2018

Microelectrodes can be used for direct measurement of electrical signals in the brain or heart. These applications require soft materials, however. With existing methods, attaching electrodes to such materials poses significant ...

EU copyright law passes key hurdle

June 20, 2018

A highly disputed European copyright law that could force online platforms such as Google and Facebook to pay for links to news content passed a key hurdle in the European Parliament on Wednesday.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.