from the chalk-one-up-for-proper-application-of-liability dept
However, thankfully, it appears that not every court in Germany feels that this is what the law says, or that this is acceptable. Apparently, a few years back, the very same court that issued the YouTube/Sarah Brightman ruling also issued a similar ruling against a local video hosting site called Sevenload, saying that it was liable for infringing videos uploaded by users. However, it appears that the appeals court has now reversed that decision, and ruled that Sevenload should not be liable. After the jump, I've embedded an English translation of the ruling, but the key point is that the court found that since Sevenload is not active in selecting the content, it makes no sense to hold the company liable. It also laughed off the argument from the rightsholder that since it wasn't known who uploaded the video, it could have been an employee of Sevenload. The court notes that this argument was brought up too late (i.e., not in the lower court decision) and that the plaintiff didn't offer any evidence to support such an assertion.
One part I liked in the ruling is that the court pointed out that it should be common sense that user-created content is not from the company in question:
Furthermore, from other services on the Internet, Internet users are used to areas being set up in which users can participate, in particular discussion forums. The sensible Internet user does not, as a rule, regard these areas as the site operatorís own content for which the operator intends to take responsibility.The court also cites other cases which noted online auction providers are not expected to review every auction before it goes up, "as this would call the entire business model into question." Similarly, the court finds it silly that a video hosting service should need to inspect each video. While certainly no guarantee, this appeals court ruling appears to bode well for Google's appeal of the Sarah Brightman ruling.