Huh? Totally Clueless German Court Says ContentID Isn't Good Enough, YouTube Must Block Infringement By Keywords

from the total-failure dept

We've discussed a few times the legal fight in Germany between YouTube and the overbearing collections society GEMA. German law is a bit bizarre in that it has very little regard for secondary liability protections, and often seems to default to blaming third parties for the actions of their users. On top of that, GEMA is incredibly powerful and controlling in Germany. When I was there a few years ago (in part to discuss this case), I had musicians explaining to me that they had "secret websites" because GEMA wouldn't let them offer their own music for free. The GEMA/YouTube dispute centers around the fact that GEMA wants YouTube to pay a fixed fee every time a video that includes a GEMA-covered song is played (and GEMA has actually suggested the fee for each stream should be identical to the cost of a download -- no joke). After suing YouTube/Google, GEMA refused to negotiate, making Germany the only modern country in the world in which a collection society didn't work out a deal with YouTube (and meaning that Google started blocking tons of music videos in Germany).

Unfortunately, the court has now ruled in the case, and the results seem ridiculous. It has said that YouTube is liable when users post videos (third party liability concepts still just don't make sense to German courts). Even more ridiculous, however, is that the court has said that YouTube's famous ContentID system is not enough. Instead, it must also install a keyword-based filter to block GEMA songs from being uploaded. Keyword-filters? Really. We've done this before a bunch of times and it doesn't work. At all. Keyword filters are really stupid ways to deal with these kinds of things. First off, they tend to block all sorts of legitimate content. But, more importantly, users figure out how to get around them in less than an hour. They just start coming up with easy-to-decipher substitutes. Comparing a keyword filter to ContentID is like comparing a human strapping on wings to a modern fighter plane. One of them works and can actually get the job done. One of them just makes you look like an idiot.

The only "concession" the court appears to have given YouTube is that it only expects such filtering to work going forward, rather than having them search the archive. That, of course, is barely a concession at all. If I remember correctly, this particular court, in Hamburg, is somewhat notorious for siding with copyright holders, so I wouldn't be surprised to see an appeal on this case...


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Colin, Apr 20th, 2012 @ 12:57pm

    I hope Google just blocks YouTube from Germany. Maybe that would shed some light on this ridiculousness.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 20th, 2012 @ 1:00pm

    Re:

    Not only Youtube but also google.de...

    (it worked with sopa after all...)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
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    Atkray (profile), Apr 20th, 2012 @ 1:02pm

    Re:

    a knee jerk response, but a good one.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    icon
    Machin Shin (profile), Apr 20th, 2012 @ 1:03pm

    I think it is about time for laws to be passed saying courts cannot rule on anything until it is proven those running the court actually understand whats going on. The court systems are old and outdated.

    Long gone are the days that court cases were simply two farmers fighting over who owns a cow. The cases now are complicated and deal with many topics we cannot expect all judges to understand. Judges simply cannot be computer experts, chemists, biologists, engineers, and pharmaceutical experts.

    The system need to be updated to account for the nature of modern cases.

     

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  5.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Apr 20th, 2012 @ 1:06pm

    Keywords?

    German musicians should just start making songs with titles like, oh I don't know, "GEMA." Or even better, "Geburtstag."

     

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  6.  
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    Chosen Reject (profile), Apr 20th, 2012 @ 1:12pm

    Re:

    The problem with your idea is that gone are the days where laws are simply to say who owns a cow. The legislators you would task to implement this "knowledgeable court" law are just as stupid and clueless if not more so. It's a big reason why we're in this mess to begin with. If legislators (German in this case, but it's applicable anywhere) had not created laws wherein they take away people's natural right to copy and share, then the judges wouldn't be faced with having to decide these issues.

     

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  7. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 20th, 2012 @ 1:17pm

    Courts are sooo dumb. If only they were super-smart like Mike Masnick! Think how great the world'd be if everyone was like Mike! Perrrrrfect! YAY!

     

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  8. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 20th, 2012 @ 1:17pm

    " If I remember correctly, this particular court, in Hamburg, is somewhat notorious for siding with copyright holders, so I wouldn't be surprised to see an appeal on this case..."

    Wow, Mike you are one hell of a sore loser. Suck it up, buttercup, there is more coming.

     

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  9.  
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    Ima Fish (profile), Apr 20th, 2012 @ 1:18pm

    Why doesn't Google simply pull Youtube out of Germany?

     

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  10.  
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    iamtheky (profile), Apr 20th, 2012 @ 1:23pm

    Re:

    Moreover, why doesn't Google simply pull out of Germany?

    Cut em off first, negotiate second.

     

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  11.  
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    Richard (profile), Apr 20th, 2012 @ 1:24pm

    Comparing a keyword filter to ContentID is like comparing a human strapping on wings to a modern fighter plane. One of them works and can actually get the job done. One of them just makes you look like an idiot.

    Bad analogy.

    Yves Rossi does not look like an idiot - unlike GEMA!

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    Glen, Apr 20th, 2012 @ 1:26pm

    Re:

    How old are you? I get the feeling you need your parents permission to be here.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
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    usul_of_arakis (profile), Apr 20th, 2012 @ 1:27pm

    Oh put a plaster on it, there the bleeding's stopped. Not fixed the broken leg though, sorry.

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 20th, 2012 @ 1:27pm

    Re:

    Your analysis of this article is very poor indeed. I feel stupider having read your comment.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, J.D., esq., Apr 20th, 2012 @ 1:29pm

    Re:

    Probably because they know entertainment lawyers have to be employed even if they decide to practice law in entertainment.

    Entertainment lawyers are entertaining, and being one can pay slightly better than bookies or a manager. But oh well...they decide to have an ego, and choose lawyering in entertainment got some reason. It's a dying industry to be in.

    Soon I would suggest they move into insurance lawyering or accident lawyering. :-)

     

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  16.  
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    Chris Rhodes (profile), Apr 20th, 2012 @ 1:30pm

    Re:

    Exactly.

    "YouTube is not available in Germany due to GEMA's massive sense of entitlement and technological cluelessness. Please tell them what you think about their nonsense by contacting them at:"

     

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  17.  
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    The eejit (profile), Apr 20th, 2012 @ 1:32pm

    Re:

    Well, it'd be a damn sight simpler than it is now. And that would be because of economic Darwinism, rather than oligopolistic measures.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
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    Chris Rhodes (profile), Apr 20th, 2012 @ 1:34pm

    Re:

    "Suck it up, buttercup, there is more coming."

    Speaking just for myself, I can't wait until IP maximalists have completely destroyed everything the internet has made possible. Then, people will either wake up, grab their pitchforks, and string the Big Content fatcats up by their necks, or they'll remain cattle and always wonder why the class divide seems to get wider and wider.

    Either way, we'll know what people are really made of.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 20th, 2012 @ 1:36pm

    Re:

    I bet you're the same AC being a sore loser in the comments of the iiNet. If you're not you two would get along well!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
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    PlagueSD (profile), Apr 20th, 2012 @ 1:37pm

    Comparing a keyword filter to ContentID is like comparing a human strapping on wings to a modern fighter plane. One of them works and can actually get the job done. One of them just makes you look like an idiot.


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GYW5G2kbrKk

    Even though the video is admittedly fake, he still looks cool.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    icon
    :Lobo Santo (profile), Apr 20th, 2012 @ 1:38pm

    Re: Re: Ask a silly question...

    "Either way, we'll know what people are really made of."
    Psh, that's easy. They're made of meat.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 20th, 2012 @ 1:39pm

    most people are of the same mind over this. pull YouTube outta Germany and see what the reaction is. i bet it wont be a favorable one. GEMA and the rest of the entertainment industries could find themselves just as disliked over this as they were over ACTA etc!

     

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  23.  
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    The Devil's Coachman (profile), Apr 20th, 2012 @ 1:48pm

    Germans seem to prefer powerful controlling authorities

    At least that's what their history demonstrates. So they are getting what they want. Not what is right, but what they want. To be told what to do by a powerful controlling authority, thus relieving them of personal responsibility and decision making. Just like right here in the good old USA.

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, J.D., esq., Apr 20th, 2012 @ 1:50pm

    Re:

    But the same day they pull out, they should publicly send a proposal including the prices of "custom coding" including a second platform and Internet hosting to GEMA in case Germany wants YouTube Back.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
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    Atkray (profile), Apr 20th, 2012 @ 1:51pm

    Re:

    ...so does this mean that fighter planes are idiotic?

     

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  26.  
    identicon
    Zoe.LeelA, Apr 20th, 2012 @ 2:32pm

    The List

    The Gema fought for twelve songs wich are not even close to contempary pop context.From old Folk songs-one song is a traditionell caribean song,not even close to his self named copy holder Frank Farian and the others are german,eurotrash songs.Wow,three yrs of secret trades for songs,noone in germany will ever miss on radio,tv or online.Great sucess dear Gema.

     

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  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 20th, 2012 @ 2:34pm

    I hope Youtube blocks German IP to make a point.

     

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  28.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 20th, 2012 @ 2:38pm

    Re:

    I hope the death penalty for corporate shills comes soon.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
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    KlaraLicht (profile), Apr 20th, 2012 @ 2:38pm

    Word filter

    Interesting is also that the German court decided on word filters without actually getting an expert report on this as a US court would have done. So German judges feel competent to evaluate technical questions like this themselves ...

     

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  30. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    I Love Mike M!, Apr 20th, 2012 @ 2:45pm

    FOOOOOK OFF as the Irish Say...

    I'm with Mike. Nobody is going to stop us from copying other peoples work. I like my MP3's FREEEEEE BABY! And Movies? Why pay for them when you can download them???? And who needs to pay for software or operating systems? Just download em? It's all FREE MAN!

    YAAAHOOOOOOO....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    CN, Apr 20th, 2012 @ 2:48pm

    Agree. Block Germany.

    Agree. Block Germany, with a nice little note stating how to contact GEMA if they are displeased about it.

     

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  32.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 20th, 2012 @ 2:57pm

    'this particular court, in Hamburg, is somewhat notorious for siding with copyright holders'

    the reason for this is the judge(s) dont have to have any knowledge of how the Internet works or any knowledge of copyright. listening quietly to the entertainment industries bullshit, then agreeing with it, is so much easier than trying to decipher what is right and what isn't and then making a ruling based on the law!

     

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  33.  
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    Rapnel (profile), Apr 20th, 2012 @ 3:17pm

    I hate GEMA.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    icon
    Nathan F (profile), Apr 20th, 2012 @ 3:37pm

    Re: Re:

    "Then, people will either wake up, grab their pitchforks, and string the Big Content fatcats up by their necks, or they'll remain cattle and always wonder why the class divide seems to get wider and wider."

    Ohh.. lolbigcontentfatcats.com the next big thing on the web!

     

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  35.  
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    hmm (profile), Apr 20th, 2012 @ 5:22pm

    Re: Re:

    You mean the way Microsoft did?

    Heheh that was hilarious....shares in German companies have crashed to all time lows and the German government has seen its popularity drop by around 30%.

    Oh yeah and tens of thousands of Germans lost their jobs...all because of the copy maximalists....

     

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  36.  
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    hmm (profile), Apr 20th, 2012 @ 5:22pm

    Re: Re:

    Entertainment lawyers CAN be employed....I seem to remember the romans having some sort of fights involving lions......

     

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  37.  
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    hmm (profile), Apr 20th, 2012 @ 5:25pm

    Re:

    It's also much easier for the judge to take 10's of thousands of euros in backhanders from various copyright holders than to not....

     

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  38.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 20th, 2012 @ 5:48pm

    Only one thing to do then.

    Find out the list of keywords, make public domain films, upload them to YouTube, then demand explanations from GEMA why the videos were taken down.

     

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  39.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 20th, 2012 @ 5:59pm

    People can start putting song names in tags, just to make GEMA abuse the system, and get called out on it.

     

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  40.  
    icon
    techflaws.org (profile), Apr 20th, 2012 @ 11:12pm

    Re: Re:

    This is what's shown already, when you try to access a video GEMA did not license: "This video is not available in Germany since it might contain music not licensed to us by GEMA. We're sorry."

     

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  41.  
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    techflaws.org (profile), Apr 20th, 2012 @ 11:13pm

    Re:

    Suck it up, buttercup, there is more coming.

    And they won't sell more because of it. Tough luck.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
    icon
    techflaws.org (profile), Apr 20th, 2012 @ 11:16pm

    Re: Germans seem to prefer powerful controlling authorities

    Bullshit. We're just as fed up with stupid and corrupt politicians that get bought with lots of money the industry still has (despite all their alleged losses).

     

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  43.  
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    techflaws.org (profile), Apr 20th, 2012 @ 11:18pm

    As a funny aside, Germany's clueless dpa (similar to the US's AP) posted a story in which Youtube won and most outlets repeated it without prior verification.

     

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  44.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 21st, 2012 @ 12:38am

    Re:

    Your analysis of this article is very poor indeed. I feel stupider having read your comment.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 21st, 2012 @ 1:48am

    GEMA is going to find out the hard way it needs youtube more than youtube needs its content.

    The easy and safest solution for youtube is to ban all GEMA uploads, even those by GEMA.

     

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  46.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 21st, 2012 @ 2:34am

    Actually it should be quite simple the decision goes against a decision made by the EU court of Justice, prohibiting filtering. Now the only question for Youtube that needs to be answered is whether EU court ruling supersede German ones. If that is the case, I am not sure if Youtube actually has to follow the judgement, considering it cannot be forced into doing something illegal.

     

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  47.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 21st, 2012 @ 4:19am

    Re: Germans seem to prefer powerful controlling authorities

    And what historic event do you base your assumption on? Tsk, tsk... Most people would rather follow than lead. Every nation has their share of sheeple and Germany is no different in this regard.

     

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  48.  
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    Squig (profile), Apr 21st, 2012 @ 10:43am

    PPDE thanks

    Well, it is basically a court campaigning for the Pirate Party (or the Greens) and copyright reform.

     

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  49.  
    identicon
    Mat C, Apr 21st, 2012 @ 1:31pm

    Re: Re:

    First off all there is no such thing as a natural right to copy and share copyright protected material. Secondly according to German law the copyright belongs to the composer. Youtube/Google is earning billions of dollars with content that has been created by musicians, artists, composers and so on. And google wants to get this material practically for free. the GEMA represents German composers. And of course these composers want their share of the money that google is making using their content. I think the GEMA needs some changes, but I love the GEMA for not letting itself get ripped of by a company (google) that has so much more power and money to run a worldwide anti copyright campaign than the GEMA will ever have. Google is Goliath and the GEMA is David in this case.

     

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  50.  
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    Chosen Reject (profile), Apr 21st, 2012 @ 2:48pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Whoa whoa whoa. Hold on. You think you don't have a natural right to copy and share anything with anyone? The default (before laws said to the contrary) is that you could copy and distribute at will. It's only been in the last few centuries that governments have tried to take away that natural right. Take this quote from Pliny the Elder:
    In comparing various authors with one another, I have discovered that some of the gravest and latest writers have transcribed, word for word, from former works, without making acknowledgment.
    Copying has been going on for millennia. Copyright doesn't grant a new right to a copyright holder. Instead, it makes exlusive a right they already have because everyone already has it. The only way to make it exclusive is to remove the right to copy and distribute from everyone else. Let me repeat to make myself clear, copyrights do not grant a new right to the holder, it takes away rights from everyone else. When you get a copyright the government is telling everyone that they are not allowed to copy the work covered. That's why it's so important to make sure we aren't unnecessarily abrogating everyone else's rights without good reason.

     

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  51.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 21st, 2012 @ 8:13pm

    Re:

    You first, sweetheart

     

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  52.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 21st, 2012 @ 8:19pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    And McD's is always hiring.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  53.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 21st, 2012 @ 8:39pm

    Re:

    No... no, he doesn't...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  54.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 21st, 2012 @ 8:40pm

    Re: FOOOOOK OFF as the Irish Say...

    Yes ignore the potential to get paid for free content, whoooah man, radical, almost, migraine inducing

    dont let that headache hit you on the way out

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  55.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 22nd, 2012 @ 12:35pm

    Avatar.2009.1080p.BluRay.DTS.x264-ESiR.mkv

    Now CISPA will shutdown techdirt.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  56.  
    identicon
    Emil, Apr 22nd, 2012 @ 4:26pm

    ContentID system

    Here is a case study with ContentID and YouTube. The system is already so unworkable that it blocks videos for pretty much no known reason.

    A friend of mine is a member and webmaster of a local karate club. He wanted to upload a video of a recent competition on YouTube, but the video was repeatedly blocked because some unknown company "R.I." claimed copyright infringement. Nowhere did it say what it claimed copyright about. Indeed, in the end my friend got so annoyed that he completely removed audio from the film. BUT! It was still blocked for infringement! It was a video captured with a private video camera with no sound, and still it gets flagged. It is impossible to get any additional information about the alleged infringement as the "R.I." is not sufficient information to determine anything.

    And they want to make the system even worse in Germany? They are truly insane.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  57.  
    identicon
    The Moondoggie, Apr 23rd, 2012 @ 12:15am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Ironic how copyright maximalist trash concluded that piracy kills jobs for millions every year. Then tehy get their way in Germany and lose all the same.

    Seriously, that says alot about Ip maximalist and their supporters: they're a bunch of crybabies that is ok withn hurting others for their own sakes. Typical.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  58.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 23rd, 2012 @ 2:26am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Sneaky troll is sneaky.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  59.  
    icon
    Niall (profile), Apr 23rd, 2012 @ 5:00am

    Re: Re:

    I think my three-year-old could make a smarter post. And he can't even type!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  60.  
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    Niall (profile), Apr 23rd, 2012 @ 5:10am

    Re: Re: Re: Ask a silly question...

    As opposed to being Silent Greens. Wait, I've never heard a Green being silent...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  61.  
    identicon
    Hans, Aug 13th, 2012 @ 8:58am

    VPN

    Im from Germany and Im really pissed off because of this GEMA shit we have here. This is a very big step into CENSORSHIP people! I can`t even get on YouTube without a VPN anymore. BTW, I`m using http://www.sunvpn.com/ to bypass these ridiculous restrictions we have here, and with ACTA just around the corner I`m seriously thinking about using a VPN all the time I`m online...

     

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  62.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 27th, 2012 @ 12:44pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    yes, and notice it says "might contain", not "contains"...

     

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  63.  
    identicon
    Mike P, Nov 13th, 2012 @ 10:56am

    Youtube & GEMA

    Why doesn't Google sue GEMA in the USA for loss of expected revenue, say to the tune of 60 million dollars, that would clear the air! We in Germany all suffer for this, as some 70% of all music is banned over youtube. This is being done to cover the massive overheads that GEMA has.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  64.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 4th, 2012 @ 6:54pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    You do realise that GEMA is blocking all sorts of videos without checking to see if the person who uploaded them has the right to do so.

    You could buy the worldwide rights to a Sony Music Entertainment song, and upload it to YouTube (as is your good right if you buy the rights) and GEMA will still block it, because they do not care if you have a license or not. They just see content they want money for and will remove anything they want to.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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