German Court Says YouTube Has To Pay Because A User Uploaded A Musician's Video

from the bizarrely-misguided dept

Just after a court ruling saying that YouTube did not have to rush and takedown videos covered by German collection society GEMA, but warning that YouTube could very well lose during a full trial, it appears that a German court has ordered YouTube to pay up, because some users uploaded videos of singer Sarah Brightman without permission. Google had argued that it can't be held responsible for making sure the content users upload is not infringing, and pointed out that it even asks users to confirm that they have the rights to upload the works they're uploading. However, the court claimed that such a requirement doesn't absolve YouTube from liability.

The company is going to appeal, but I'm trying to figure out how this makes any sense at all. How can Google possibly know upfront whether or not a user has permission to upload content? It makes absolutely no sense.

Of course, the timing on this is quite good for me. I'm hopping a flight to Germany this weekend, to attend the A2N conference where (among other sessions), I'll be having an on-stage talk with Patrick Walker, from YouTube -- where I'll at least be certain to ask about this.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    Karl (profile), Sep 3rd, 2010 @ 5:12pm

    German copyright

    German copyright is based on "moral rights," and is among the strongest copyright laws in the world.

    They were the ones with the longest copyright terms... which the EU adopted, and the U.S. followed.

    It's no surprise that they would do this. A shame, yes, but no surprise.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 3rd, 2010 @ 5:14pm

    Well, of course it's Google's fault. They didn't wave the Magical Copyright Infringement Detection Wand that all their staff members carry.

     

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    abc gum, Sep 3rd, 2010 @ 5:31pm

    What's really funny is when the copyright holder it the one uploading the content and then they sue for the "infringement".

     

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      Eugene (profile), Sep 3rd, 2010 @ 5:48pm

      Re:

      God, yeah. How many times have record labels sent cease and desists to their own bands, not realizing it was they who were uploading their own music? You could probably make an image-dump site devoted to just that subject.

       

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    NAMELESS ONE, Sep 3rd, 2010 @ 6:19pm

    this could lead too youtube banning germans

    its far cheaper to do that cause you wont end up in court and wont have to create the tech or manpower to police it.

    enjoy germany your out of the tech race now

     

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    Atkray (profile), Sep 3rd, 2010 @ 6:23pm

    Not that I like a 600 (choose your unit of measuring weight) gorilla throwing it's weight around but, I'm beginning to think that given the size and popularity of Google perhaps the 7 year old response is appropriate. Maybe Google should just shut off all it's services to Germany.

     

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      Brian (profile), Sep 3rd, 2010 @ 6:36pm

      Re:

      As awesome as that sounds, it would probably have the exact opposite effect and cause a lot more damage to Google, including making it look like they have something to hide. I say they throw that weight at the heads of the politicians in Germany.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Sep 3rd, 2010 @ 6:49pm

        Re: Re:

        how would it make them look like they have something to hide?

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Sep 4th, 2010 @ 1:54am

          Re: Re: Re:

          I don't think it would make them look like they had something to hide, but it would not do them any favours commercially.

          I can't help but wonder if the music/movie industries have people Atkray giving them business advice and it's why they're in such a mess. Thankfully, Google seem a little smarter than that, and I'm sure they will not even contemplate cutting off an entire country for such a petty reason.

           

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      PRMan, Sep 7th, 2010 @ 7:43am

      Re:

      No just block uploads from all German IP address ranges for a while. Then German culture gets left out of what's going on on YouTube, while their young people continue to consume everyone else's culture.

       

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    Jeff, Sep 3rd, 2010 @ 6:48pm

    Dear Google...

    Google can simply block Germany if they can't seem to understand that Youtube cannot view every single video that gets uploaded.

    I think I'll upload a 15 second video. How can youtube possibly know it'll contain any infringement?

    They don't. An automatic system processes the video file(s) for viewing. That's it.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Sep 3rd, 2010 @ 6:51pm

      Re: Dear Google...

      You keep forgetting that they can always hire Ms Cleo the psychic to direct their attention towards infringing content.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 3rd, 2010 @ 7:47pm

    On a brighter note, YouTube is entitled to seek indemnification from the uploaders per its Terms of Use:

    11. Indemnity

    To the extent permitted by applicable law, you agree to defend, indemnify and hold harmless YouTube, its parent corporation, officers, directors, employees and agents, from and against any and all claims, damages, obligations, losses, liabilities, costs or debt, and expenses (including but not limited to attorney's fees) arising from: (i) your use of and access to the Service; (ii) your violation of any term of these Terms of Service; (iii) your violation of any third party right, including without limitation any copyright, property, or privacy right; or (iv) any claim that your Content caused damage to a third party. This defense and indemnification obligation will survive these Terms of Service and your use of the Service.

    Maybe YouTube should brush up on "impleader" if it applies in this jurisdiction.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 3rd, 2010 @ 8:57pm

    There is any video service that is german?

    It would be nice to see how they compare.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Sep 4th, 2010 @ 6:33am

      Re:

      Their legal system will probably be more lenient on their own video services because it's good for German business. That's probably why they're so harsh on Youtube, they want to give local video services a competitive advantage.

       

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    Xavier Johnson, Sep 4th, 2010 @ 2:03am

    Easy enough for Google.

    Well, this is easy for Google to fix. Just block anything where people don't have the copyright.

    Does Germany have fair-use laws? If not, it may be a bad decision.

     

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    The Devil's Coachman (profile), Sep 4th, 2010 @ 5:43am

    No surprise here. It is Germany, after all.

    For a country that once passed laws making it illegal to be a Jew and still be alive, this is not much of a surprise. Fits right in with their history. Don't be surprised if they order YouTube to edit out all Jewish content, too. Oh, and the gypsies, as well. Did I mention the mentally defective? Oops, can't edit the mentally defective out, otherwise how would this court ever be able to upload cartoons from Der Sturmer to YouTube?

     

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      Lucas (profile), Sep 4th, 2010 @ 2:42pm

      Re: No surprise here. It is Germany, after all.

      Ah snap!!! That's a damn good burn!! Seriously though I'm not even joking about blocking Germany. If this ruling is upheld and YouTube has to start being responsible for the content it's users upload, then they NEED to get out of Germany. Heck, if I was a German low-life I'd be very tempted to put my own unsuccessful stuff on YouTube, then sue them. The fact that it's unsuccessful will be the proof that YouTube caused harm :-) There's nothing for Google to hide by pulling out of Germany. If I buy a gun and shoot someone, is it the gun manufacturer's fault? What if our laws said it WAS the fault of the gun manufacturer? What company would be stupid enough to sell guns in this country with such a law? And similarly, why should YouTube stay in Germany?

       

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      mario, Sep 4th, 2010 @ 7:21pm

      Re: No surprise here. It is Germany, after all.

      Definitely in the running for the most stupid comment of the year...

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Sep 10th, 2010 @ 5:49am

        Re: Re: No surprise here. It is Germany, after all.

        Clearly you have not spent enough time reading YouTube comments.

         

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      Spidermike, Sep 12th, 2010 @ 11:57pm

      Re: No surprise here. It is Germany, after all.

      This is - excuse me for writing plainly - absolute rubbish. I have never seen a country that cares more about human and civil rights than Germany in the last 65 years.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2010 @ 7:15am

      Re: No surprise here. It is Germany, after all.

      You're totally retarted!

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 4th, 2010 @ 6:49am

    We know all about European Law, it's even more scattered than the countries. There is no constancy. It is whatever the local area decides is the law. Like being sued and charged with a crime for making remarks in the press.
    My thing is: The United States may not be perfect and it is full of freaky ideas, but you know where you stand as far as the law goes. So I'll just stay here. I have no desire to see foreign places, experience foreign laws and / or be locked up in any weird foreign jail.

     

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      Gareth, Sep 4th, 2010 @ 1:17pm

      Re:

      You clearly have no clue about the system of Federal circuits in the US. Or about Europe. Or, I'll wager, about the legal system of your own State.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Sep 4th, 2010 @ 6:34pm

      Re:

      No you don't, even law students learn first not open their mouth or do it at their own peril in the U.S., the statistics coming out from the Bureau of Justice Statistics in the U.S. even admits that 30% of all Americans will have a criminal record of some kind in their entire lifespan, and nobody can be sure if something is legal or illegal because the body of law is so large that even congress don't know what it is in it.

      Please don't believe me, look for yourself.

      Here is the video from a talk about the law in the U.S.

      "Don't Talk to the Police" by Professor James Duane
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i8z7NC5sgik
      http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-40976025 14885833865#

      One in 31
      Explosive growth in the number of people on probation or parole has propelled the population of the American corrections system to more than 7.3 million, or 1 in every 31 U.S. adults, according to a report released by the Pew Center on the States.

      http://www.pewcenteronthestates.org/report_detail.aspx?id=49382

      Bureau of Justice Statistics
      http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/

       

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      mario, Sep 4th, 2010 @ 7:24pm

      Re:

      You know where you stand asa far as the law goes in the states!? Ooooh, you live in your own liitle US cocoon, dont you...

       

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      Christopher (profile), Sep 4th, 2010 @ 9:45pm

      You have GOT to be kidding

      No, you don't 'know where you stand' with many of these laws, and a bunch of them are ILLEGAL BY THE CONSTITUTION, yet no one has ever challenged them to get them thrown out because the police PURPOSEFULLY only go after people who don't have money for these 'crimes'.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 4th, 2010 @ 7:29am

    German justice system collapses under weight of tertiary copyright infringement suits in 3... 2...

     

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    stephan, Sep 4th, 2010 @ 7:31am

    @ anonymous coward

    funny! I agree that the ruling against google is bullshit. your comment has it's own load of bullshit though: You don't want to be locked up in any weird foreign jail? Stay at home then; but beware: your beloved US, land of the free, is amongst the top countries in the word regarding the number of people who sit in jail; the ratio between inhabitants and people in jail is 5 to 10 times higher than in European countries. Enjoy.

     

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    mario, Sep 4th, 2010 @ 7:31pm

    may be strange to some folks here calling for google to pull out of germany but: one doesnt really "need" google you know. You can have a great life without the evil empire...

     

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    Christopher (profile), Sep 4th, 2010 @ 9:43pm

    I would appeal this decision. This is absolutely insane and the court didn't know what they were talking about here!

    Though, to be honest, that is common with the courts considering that there are mainly OLD FOGIES on them today.

     

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    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Sep 5th, 2010 @ 2:56am

    Forget The Information Superhighway ...

    ... cases like this are turning it into the Information Hyper-sue-way.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 6th, 2010 @ 8:39am

    The court that made that ruling (Landgericht Hamburg) is infamous for always deciding in favor of the "rights owner" and is responsible for many ridiculous verdicts regarding the internet.

    Under German legislation you can pick the court to decide upon a case freely in internet related cases, because the internet has no location, so there's some sort of lawsuit tourism to that particular court.

    Many of their rulings have been reverted by higher courts, but most defendants don't have the time and money to go through appeals up to the constitutional court.

     

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      Hephaestus (profile), Sep 7th, 2010 @ 7:22am

      Re:

      "Under German legislation you can pick the court to decide upon a case freely in internet related cases, because the internet has no location, so there's some sort of lawsuit tourism to that particular court."

      Sounds like east texas ...

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 6th, 2010 @ 10:44pm

    I already come across a lot of problems when sharing videos from youtube with germans, half the videos are apparently already blocked off due to money issues with GEMA.

    this will not help things at all.

     

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