Google Found Guilty Of Copyright Infringement In France For Not Magically Blocking Infringing Movie

from the it's-all-magic dept

The latest in confused secondary liability rulings comes from France, where Google has lost a lawsuit and been fined for copyright infringement, because of links and an uploaded video of a movie from producers Mondovino. Apparently, Mondovino wanted Google to block links to the unauthorized version and was upset to find that someone had uploaded the video to Google Video. Of course, Google has a well known takedown procedure that is supposed to protect it from liability. For that reason, the company appears to be planning to appeal, claiming that the ruling contradicts a 2004 European law and is technically “unfeasible.” It’s really amazing in this day and age that courts still don’t understand basic secondary liability issues and are happy to blame third parties for actions they had nothing to do with.

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Companies: google, mondovino

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Comments on “Google Found Guilty Of Copyright Infringement In France For Not Magically Blocking Infringing Movie”

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77 Comments
John Doe says:

Re: Re:

Seems you are jumping to conclusions here. The linked article says the material kept appearing online even after the take down notice. That could mean once they took it down, someone else put it back up. I doubt very much Google ignores take down notices, they don’t want the liability on them.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

So why can’t Google keep it down once its been posted and removed once? A copyright holder should only have to notify once. At that point, Google has the complaint on file and shouldn’t require 1000x more notices every day of the week for it to do its job.

Google is the one choosing to publish without editorial review. If that is the business model they have chosen for themselves, it is their responsibility to deal with the consequences when it blows up in their face.

Ideally, they would just invest in more advanced and more adequate fingerprinting technology. That way, once something gets taken down, it stays down. But why would they do that? There isn’t a single law compelling them to.

And the less responsibility they have, the more money they make. Why should they care whose work they are profiting from?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

They did. And the material appeared again. The copyright holder did not enjoy it and got tired of defending it’s rights (by sending takedown notices), so dumped that responsibility on Google, basically saying that it is Google’s responsibility to monitor uploads and block those that infringe.

Now, anyone with the brain of a slug can tell that that is not doable. No one, not even Google, can filter through millions of uploads and magically determine those that infringe and those that don’t (if you have an idea on how to do this, please, share!).

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

ahahahahahahahahahahaha

Yes of course, it was simply impossible for Google to filter that.

That is so rich. I’m going to remember that one. “Why are you picking on Google? You act like they had the world’s most sophisticated technology at their fingertips. They employ hundreds of elves and squirrels to move their materials from place to place. Quit picking on small folk.”

SNORE.

Chuck (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

If it’s impossible for your small folk to keep tabs on only your data, then how do you want Google to keep track of EVERYONE’s material? If it’s so simple, you can always do a google search RSS of the keywords that leads to infringement, but then you need to put in the human labour yourself to filter the results.. Google does not want to be liable for blocking sites because of over-zealous IP owners, because then they’ll feel the wrath from site owners.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I suggest you read a bit about pattern recognition, both in computer science and human psychology, since you seem to be completely unaware of the complexity of such a problem.

Solving Google’s particular problem would certainly qualify for a noble prize (if there was such a thing for computer science).

JTO (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Pattern recognition is a great idea! Why don’t you give Google a few hundred million dollars for the supercomputers needed to process that much data in a reasonable amount of time?

Even if one company has the knowledge and resources to do it, safe harbor laws are there because the vast majority simply can’t do it. However, this ruling states that, even though there are laws specifically protecting the third party, those laws don’t matter if the offending material keeps on showing up.

Richard (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

That is so rich. I’m going to remember that one. “Why are you picking on Google? You act like they had the world’s most sophisticated technology at their fingertips

No matter how sophisticated your technology there are some things that can’t be done.

Perpetual motion machines
Squaring the circle
Travelling faster than light
Making sense of “the set of all sets that are not members of themselves”
Deciding whether the continuum hypothesis is true
Taking down an infringing upload instantly without information from the rightsholders

All things in the same category.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Traveling faster than light may be possible.

You see it all depends on how you define the speed of light and your theory of time.

Wait there is no theory of time. Physicists are not even up to understanding if time is analog or digital. And with out a theory of time it is impossible to state that matter may travel faster than the speed of light or not.

Rekrul says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Yes of course, it was simply impossible for Google to filter that.

That is so rich. I’m going to remember that one. “Why are you picking on Google? You act like they had the world’s most sophisticated technology at their fingertips. They employ hundreds of elves and squirrels to move their materials from place to place. Quit picking on small folk.”

And how exactly do they filter out infringing sites?

If they just filter out any sites with the title of the film in them, that will also block every site that reviews the film, every news site that mentions it and even the Internet Movie Database. I doubt that France would be too happy with that.

OK, so it flags the sites for review. You now have 1,000,000+ sites waiting to be reviewed by a human. Some are obvious, such as links to downloadable copies, or torrents, but what about sites that have a 30 clip? Infringing or fair use? Do screencaps count as infringement? Answer fast because another 100,000 sites just popped up. How many sites can you check in an hour? Get moving, the title just appeared on another 150,000 sites.

Oh, don’t forget about the other 100+ movies that might be turning up on 5,000,000+ web sites as well. Gotta filter for them too…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Digital fingerprinting technology works if you put enough money into it. If a viewer can understand what they are watching, so can a computer.

Plenty of companies offer fingerprinting solutions.

If Google can’t find one to get the job done properly, then as they say, maybe its business model is at fault, and it should stop leeching off others’ work altogether.

Gwiz (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

If Google can’t find one to get the job done properly, then as they say, maybe its business model is at fault, and it should stop leeching off others’ work altogether.

So, you are saying that it’s your content, you have a copyright on it and you have the exclusive right to profit from it
and
it’s your content, you have a copyright on it and it’s someone else’s responsibility to pay to protect it.

Double standard much?

Rekrul says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

Digital fingerprinting technology works if you put enough money into it. If a viewer can understand what they are watching, so can a computer.

Plenty of companies offer fingerprinting solutions.

So digital fingerprinting works whether the movie is a high-quality MKV, or a crappy Flash video, as well as if the film is packed into password-protected Rar files?

Not to mention that to apply this technology, Google would actually have to download the files in question to be able to test them. Remember, the files aren’t on Google’s servers, they just link to them. So, you expect Google to download several thousand copies of the movie every day, from cyber lockers, torrents and other file sharing networks, so that they can test the files to see if they match up to the company’s movie?

Yeah, that’s going to work. While we’re at it, why don’t we force every company that compiles phone directories to make sure that they don’t list the phone numbers of anyone doing anything illegal…

btr1701 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

> Digital fingerprinting technology works if you put enough
> money into it.

Trips to Jupiter work with enough money behind them, however there’s no legal or moral reason why someone putting a video service on the internet should have the burden of spending huge amounts of their own money to protect other people’s stuff. If those people want their stuff protected, let them pay to do it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“It’s very amusing to see how Google thinks it can ignore takedown notices with impunity.”

What will be amusing will be when Google pulls out of France altogether because it’s now responsible for every idiot that posts something stupid online…. like yourself for example…

Miff (profile) says:

Everyone knows blacklists are ineffective at filtering. What we need is a whitelist.

A trusted party *ahem*MPAA*/ahem* gives Google a list of “non-infringing” sites, and Google only indexes them.

That way, Google’s not at liability for infringement, and no infringement occurs. Everyone wins!

Except users, of course, but who cares about them.

Brian (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Yup, you would submit it to the *IAA’s Infringing Sites group for analysis. This process will take anywhere from two to ten years for them to check over your site for any infringing content or content they deem harmful. Then you must submit a 1000-page form, in triplicates, that confirms your site has nothing infringing or harmful on it. After these documents are reviewed, handed back for correction, and corrections submitted your site will be added to the white list.

Miff (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Oh, you just have to pay a hefty fee to the whitelist maintainers. Nothing pricey of course, just a bit more than you’d pay to publish whatever you want to get out without the internet.

Unrelatedly, it figures that the one time I decide my post is sarcastic enough to not warrant the inclusion of a “” tag, someone takes it for real.

Major says:

Re: Re:

Hey, in case that isnt sarcasm : sarkozy is right-wing, far from being communist, france actually have a party for that but no one seem to remember it 🙂

But i concur he does suck, just look at the record industry holding him by the jewel with hadopi and stuff… wait maybe thats why Carla Bruni actually married him ?

Richard (profile) says:

Re: Re: When will people ever learn?

Content ID – yawn – we know about that already –
if Mondovino had bothered to use Content ID there maybe wouldn’t have been a problem. Part of the issue here seems to be that they didn’t.

However content ID is fairly easy to defeat – because – in spite of the hype in your TED talk link – it is fairly limited in its ability to detect content that has been tweaked to get around it.

If you read the Argonne Lab Security Maxims you will understand why.

Pay particular attention to the Arrogance Maxim, the High Tech Maxim and the Dr Who Maxim.

aj00200 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: When will people ever learn?

Actually, in my experience, Content ID has even taken down entire remixes of songs that were changed to the point of being fair-user. Sure, you can specifically modify it to bypass Content ID, but the quality would be really messed up and it wouldn’t really be worth watching/listening to.

And of course, there are always going to be exceptions to that as well.

Anonymous Coward says:

The thing I see is this, everyone is running from the expenses to monitor and hold copyright in place, it is so expensive that no one wants that burden not even the primary beneficiaries of such policy and that is exactly why the entertainment industry is going to find itself alone in the dark, while people keep sharing and sharing and sharing LoL

This is just to funny, there is no technological solution possible to stop anything and now the industry is lashing out at the very people who could have helped them, maybe this is a lesson to others in the tech industry not to trust the entertainment industry and treat them just like they deserve, with indifference.

John Doe says:

Re: Re:

You sir have hit the nail on the head. The MPAA, RIAA and book publishers know this, but that doesn’t stop them from trying to put the cost of enforcement on others. They hope to dupe the unwitting public into thinking Google is the bad guy and support their cause.

Unfortunately, the courts should know better.

Gwiz (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

The MPAA, RIAA and book publishers know this, but that doesn’t stop them from trying to put the cost of enforcement on others.

It’s exactly that.

It’s like this:

I rent a unit in a strip mall and I run a donut shop and I make a pretty good profit selling donuts and coffee. One day somebody opens a shop next to me selling WiFi access and business services and as an incentive to increase sales they give away FREE donuts and coffee.

At this point I have three options:

a) I re-adjust my business strategy to remain profitable by adding experience for my customers or I start selling a different product. Or I think of some other strategy that keeps me competitive.

b) I call in the lawyers and demand that everyone I can think of, my competitor, my customers, the landlord, law enforcement, the government, Google and the Easter Bunny protect my business of selling donuts and coffee. By doing this I also alienate all of my existing and/or new customers. Of course I expect all of these other entities to foot the bill for these expenses too.

c) Do nothing and eventually lay off all my employees, file bankruptcy and close my shop.

Which is the best option for me?

aj00200 (profile) says:

Google Heatmapping

It should be noted that Google does employ a heat-mapping system on YouTube which is used to detect copyright infringing audio or video. I am not sure if this is run on Google Video as well, but if your content is really infringed so heavily, you would be stupid not to add your content to this system as it will take down the violations and prevent them from being added to this site.

Here is a video I watched a long time ago about copyright infringement on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4_EamVE1HVE

known coward says:

Just because google?s business model for you tube does not include pre screening of videos for whatever reason, does not mean they can not be forced to do pre screening or not put the video?s up. Google?s business model is not defacto legal because it exists and does not mean requiring prescreening is illegal, and or stupid.

and to some of the comments: Google will pull out of france sometime after they pull out of china.

Gwiz (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Just because google?s business model for you tube does not include pre screening of videos for whatever reason, does not mean they can not be forced to do pre screening or not put the video?s up.

And just because the movie industry’s business model does not include the cost of policing their own IP, does not mean that Google or the ISP’s should have to pay for it instead.

It’s your content, if you want it protected, then bear the costs yourselves or don’t release it.

Anonymous Coward says:

It’s really amazing in this day and age that courts still don’t understand basic secondary liability issues and are happy to blame third parties for actions they had nothing to do with.

It’s because it’s so broad, that if they allow Google to do it, they’re allowing ThePirateBay to do it. Simple as that. Can’t let that happen. Ever. Think of the children!

John Horstman says:

Re: Nobody uses subjects?

“It’s because it’s so broad, that if they allow Google to do it, they’re allowing ThePirateBay to do it. Simple as that. Can’t let that happen. Ever. Think of the children!”

Yup, ThePirateBay, IsoHunt, NinjaVideo, et al. And that’s because what they’re doing is legal, because the concept of “intellectual property” was formulated when a small oligopoly controlled content distribution and no longer applies to the current paradigm. Unfortunately, bandwidth is so inflated in cost that it’s still cost-prohibitive to allow for the previous method of combating piracy: the quality vs. cost trade-off. People bought cassettes and CDs instead of recording them off of the radio or from friends because of ease-of-access and quality; people are willing to pay for those. People are NOT willing to pay for marginal gains in quality (if that; my NetFlix streaming is terrible quality, mostly) if it means tons of DRM that greatly impedes ease-of-access. High-bandwidth, high-quality streaming solves the problem; I, and I’m sure anyone who was going to buy anything in the first place, am totally willing to pay for the ability to confidently get my hi-def movie NOW instead of waiting three hours for a crappy 700 MB download through bit torrent. Why on earth would I pay to get an extremely limited catalog of streaming video in equally crappy encodings when I can get a much larger catalog for free with minimal to zero wait time? The answer isn’t to re-imagine the industry, it’s to do what they’ve always done: compete on the basis of quality-of-service. The people who can’t afford $15/month for NetFlix or something similar can’t afford your product anyway; you’re not “losing” money when they “steal” it.

MADelineWoe (profile) says:

Re: Re: Nobody uses subjects?

Yes! Some people would never buy it, but rent it.
If you torrent it..yes there are many bad quality torrents. If your video is not bad, then the audio seems bad, unless they obtained their copy from the source. Or are from fiend geeks who like to edit and fix up videos. A sort of pride in being able to fix it , I am sure. Thus you have some pseudonym like “TheKid” or something that has almost the same underground heroism as a famous tagger(say banksy). They must be electronically set up with fast drives or dvr recorders and conversion programs…at a quess. I tried copying a DVD with one of those ripping programs to test out how easy it would be to make personal back ups on DVD disks. I found that it was a lot of time for my drive to be spinning and I personally would not put my computer through all that.

MADelineWoe (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Nobody uses subjects?

Copy from the source meaning some one stole it off the editing desk or likely they have a copy of the distributed DVD to the Academy for review and voting that has subtitles saying “Do Not Copy”.
There was a lot of hoopla going on when X-men Origins Wolverine got out from the studio prior to theater release. The torrent was excellent quality, however there was a couple of scenes where the the green background and computer generated grids of sort. Just recently a man from New York was sentenced for putting it on two of his websites for download…up to $250,000 fine. He had got the copies from MegaUpload.com. There are many other great quality torrents from sources unknown that come out two days after theater release and are not web cammed.
If you hook it up to your flatscreen and watch them…it is pretty much like watching the rental dvd…
The thing is..you got to be pretty cheap to download a video when you can rent them for a buck and buy them as low as 5 bucks used.
But, I think you are right. Those who do this would not normally buy it.

MADelineWoe (profile) says:

I find it funny that there are Mozilla add-ons and other free ware that allows you just to right click and download a YouTube video in the format of the users choice. All the wholabala about Limeware and music, and MP3’s are just a right click away off of YouTube. The add on that saves in FLV will download off of other sites that offer music and movies.

The prescreening you speak of is counter acted by disclaimer that the uploader pastes to the description. Or pastes to the dispute form. This is not top secret info.
“Copyright Disclaimer Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use”.

Yet when you upload with the disclaimer, it still has a note on it that it has third party content, yet it plays and is embeddable. Is this enabling infringement?
Tag and sort and leave it up to the user to delete the bad deed? I don’t get it. An analogy is that you leave a bag of money in the bank lobby and then put a camera on it and see who takes off with it? Hold on to the security tape and then bust them later?

Also with the right click ability to download off of a site, you can take it then edit it to your preference (say add lyrics or change the video content) and then upload it back. Is it wrong to take it then give it back?

I read somewhere that for the purposes of editing, it is legal to have an MP3 for only 48 hrs then you must delete it?

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