YouTube wins Spanish copyright case


A Spanish federal court has dismissed copyright infringement charges against Google’s YouTube that could have brought the online video service to a halt by forcing it to monitor every piece of content.

Telecinco, a Spanish broadcaster, had brought the charges against YouTube, arguing that it should be liable when users upload material that violates copyright protection. Google, which owns YouTube, praised the court’s decision to reject the charges on the basis that YouTube offers users tools to remove content that infringes on copyrights.


“This decision is a clear victory for the internet and the rules that govern it,” Google said on its blog.

Under European law, owners of content are considered best placed to monitor how their work is being used rather than service providers such as YouTube.

The company said that more than 24 hours of video are uploaded to its website every minute and that the task of screening all of that content would make it and other social media websites such as Facebook, Twitter and MySpace, “grind to a halt”.

YouTube said that it has created a content identification tool which allows content creators such as media companies to remove edited copyrighted material and alerts them if something was wrongfully uploaded.

Aaron Ferstman, head of communications for YouTube’s operations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa said the decision “demonstrates the wisdom of European laws” and that YouTube hopes to work with Telecinco in the “spirit of copyright protection”.

The decision comes as Google has been under legal pressure over YouTube and Buzz, its social networking service.

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