German Court: YouTube Doesn't Need To ID Uploader Who Didn't Profit From Infringement

from the someone's-not-going-to-like-that dept

Thomas points us to the news of a recent, rather surprising copyright ruling in Germany, in which a movie distributor wanted to sue a user who had uploaded "large portions of the movie Werner Eiskalt." However, the court ruled that YouTube did not have to turn over the information, because the uploader did not distribute the films "on a commercial scale." The court apparently admits that this may have been infringing, but unless it's at a commercial scale, there is no requirement to reveal the uploader. Either way, it appears that YouTube took down the videos as soon as it was told about them.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 22nd, 2011 @ 10:48pm

    German courts are a mystery to me.

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

  2. identicon
    Dr Evil, Nov 22nd, 2011 @ 11:45pm

    German Courts

    but we still have GEMA, and ve have vays to make you pay!

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

  3. icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Nov 23rd, 2011 @ 12:38am

    A court who actually considered if the infringement was commercial in nature or not, how novel.

    Someone liked the cartoon enough to want to share portions of it, they shared the love with others. There was not this massive theft of cash like they want you to think there was, just someone wanting to share what they liked. The shame of this is, fewer people might be aware of the movie now.

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

  4. icon
    mike allen (profile), Nov 23rd, 2011 @ 1:03am

    Pity you tube took them down i think the film may have been German (could be wrong on that). what annoys me about you tube is the removal of audio from a movie if a piece of music is chosen that fits the film ten that should be fine and allowed.

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

  5. icon
    Tor (profile), Nov 23rd, 2011 @ 1:30am

    That's interesting.

    This is based on a specific interpretation of the phrase "commercial scale" in the IPRED EU directive which applies to all EU countries. Here in Sweden the government took the approach to make the law such law that any illegal uploading is per definition said to be commercial scale.

    The problem with "commercial scale" in IPRED is of course that it's never defined. Does it imply that one should distinguish between commercial / noncommercial or that one should distinguish between big scale / small scale. What about things done commercially on a small scale and things done noncommercially on a bigger scale? There are no answers.

    When Sweden implemented IPRED into national law there were those who wanted to translate it into something like "for commercial purposes" - a phrase that was used elsewhere in the legislation and would give a certain consistency. But this was rejected on the grounds that since nobody really knew what "commercial scale" meant anything but a literal translation would create a risk that the law would differ from later case law developed in the EU.

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

  6. identicon
    bob, Nov 23rd, 2011 @ 7:03am

    Wow, what a wonderful deal for Big Search

    Big Search takes the profits and some fall guy gets off on a technicality. And to think that Big Search has a huge population of people who are told that helping Big Search make money on infringement is cool and laudable. Wow. What a life. Build a robotic system and then strip mine the content world for your profit.

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

  7. icon
    Josef Anvil (profile), Nov 23rd, 2011 @ 8:13am

    A thread of common sense

    If only the US could understand that copyright laws are for the protection of companies and artists against COMMERCIAL distribution. Sharing is natural and actually helps the economy.

    btw trolls, an ad banner on your site doesn't make it commercial distribution.

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

  8. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 23rd, 2011 @ 8:44am

    Re: Wow, what a wonderful deal for Big Search

    "Big Search takes the profits"

    Yes, because I'm sure Google makes a ton of money fighting this in court and taking down content and policing their content. Give me a break. Do you honestly think this was a profitable endeavor to Google? How much do you think it made from this video? Youtube makes almost all of its money from legitimate content and I'm sure the costs of policing its content far outset any money it allegedly makes from infringing material.

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

  9. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 23rd, 2011 @ 8:54am

    Headline is misleading (and completely contrary to source article)

    You completely missed the point of the article it wasn't about whether money was gained (i.e. a commercial venture). The decision was based on the fact that the infringement was not a commercial scale. This is a very important distinction as it has huge implications. In other words, it doesn't matter if you make money or not, if you illegally distribute infringing content to some arbitrary number of people it could be deemed to be on a commercial scale. This seems to indicate that his judge does not see anything wrong with sharing content on small scales. So in Germany you are free to upload crap that no one wants to watch, but if you upload something people like you will be punished. The real question becomes, what is the magic number that constitutes "commercial scale".

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

  10. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 23rd, 2011 @ 9:05am

    Re: A thread of common sense

    "an ad banner on your site doesn't make it commercial distribution"

    There goes Google's entire business model.

    One of the most profitable companies on the planet makes BILLIONS from ad placement and you claim it isn't commercial distribution. It is exactly that, distribution with commercials it doesn't get any clearer than that. Next you will claim that Spotify is not commercial distribution. The method of compensation may change but making money (regardless of who pays) from conent is commercial distribution. In ad-sponsored distribution models, the advertisers are paying the company (YouTube in this case, other examples are Spotify, Hulu, free network television, etc...) In paid-content distribution models, the end user pays the company (Apple, Amazon, Sony, Microsoft, etc...)

    Just because a business model doesn't involve directly selling content does not mean that it is not comercial distribution.

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

  11. identicon
    anonymous german, Nov 23rd, 2011 @ 10:29am

    The term "commercial scale" is misleading. This term was coined by the lawmaker but was never actually defined so every court can come up with their own arbitrary definition of "commercial scale".

    While this court decided that commercial scale depends on monetary gain, a bavarian court decided in a different case, that filesharing of more than a few tracks of an album is enough to constitute commercial scale.

    So, the term commercial scale is entirely made of rubber and can mean everything and nothing.

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

  12. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 24th, 2011 @ 9:39pm

    Re: Wow, what a wonderful deal for Big Search

    The movie was taken down. Policing was performed and content taken down before irreparable (I use the term sparingly) damage was done. What's your point? Do you still want a pound of flesh from someone?

    Now you just look angry, irrational, and... oh wait. That's how bob always looks.

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

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