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Court: YouTube liable for copyright breaches

The Local · 20 Apr 2012, 15:51

Published: 20 Apr 2012 15:51 GMT+02:00

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The German royalty collections body GEMA sued YouTube over 12 specific music videos to which it holds the rights.

The Hamburg court ruled that YouTube was responsible for making sure that any uploaded videos did not breach copyright and ordered it take down seven of the 12 clips concerned.

In the five other cases, the lawsuit was formally withdrawn because there was no evidence that the videos had been uploaded to the site.

Apart from ruling that YouTube was responsible for the actions of its users, the court also said that individuals who uploaded the videos again could face a fine of up to €250,000, or a custodial sentence of up to six months for violating court orders.

YouTube must install filters to prevent users from uploading copyrighted music videos without permission, it said.

YouTube said it took no responsibility for what users did but said it always responded when told of copyright violations.

GEMA represents about 60,000 German song writers and musicians.

The ruling represents the culmination of a legal battle between GEMA and YouTube that has dragged on since 2009, when the last contract between them expired. After no follow-up agreement was reached, GEMA sued YouTube in 2010.

Story continues below…

AFP/The Local/bk

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

17:12 April 20, 2012 by Wrench
GEMA is perhaps the biggest pile of crap heap in the world. Germany is the most paola driven industry there is. If anyone has noticed, the radio stations here play all the same crap. Good luck finding a radio station that plays anything other than "Pop" or (even worse) Hip Hop rap crap. I have yet to see a truly independent radio station.
18:49 April 20, 2012 by The-ex-pat
GEMA represents about 60,000 German song writers and musicians.----------------------And thinks it speaks for even more. Only today I was blocked from viewing the official music video of both an English and an American singer. It also blocks videos that are in online news papers and news websites. I can see no standard that they are following at all.
19:13 April 20, 2012 by lordkorner
60,000 songwriters and musicians,really....I can think of 2 or 3....
20:14 April 20, 2012 by murka
Germans (people with German IP addresses) are effectively forbidden by Gema from watching full YouTube since March 5 2009. Get yourself a non-German IP/VPN.

The freshest German legislation regulating copyright is from 1965 and the name Gema is speaking for itself: Gesellschaft für musikalische Aufführungs- und mechanische Vervielfältigungsrechte
23:30 April 20, 2012 by charlenej
GEMA seems like a big scam to me. I can't for the life of me figure out why everyone else outside of Germany and China can use youtube freely. If Michael Buble or Beyonce or Foo Fighters don't care if I see their video, why does GEMA? I posted a limited private view video on youtube of my child dancing to about 30 seconds of Michael Jackson and it got taken down. Really, GEMA??

And they should go ahead and protect the 60k artists they have or whatever. Protect away, I'm not interested in them. But let me have access to all the other stuff.

This is why people start illegal downloading. So many unnecessary barriers.
09:55 April 21, 2012 by Landmine
When we all get fed up with GEMA and stop buying music/videos or pirating takes off to unprecedented levels then maybe the artists that suport GEMA efforts will feel the consumer ire in their bank accounts.

GEMA that thinks it can tell anyone what you can do with videos and music, but if consumers boycott the artists that support them, they won't be around for long....
10:16 April 21, 2012 by AlexR
Youtube is almost dead in Germany because of the draconian policing methods of GEMA. What GEMA officers don't understand is that you can't control the entire Internet by just blocking the Youtube videos. You can watch those videos in hundreds other sites or use VPN.

Also GEMA doesn't understand that each time people read the Youtube message "Unfortunately, this video is not available in Germany because GEMA has not granted the respective music rights.", they are not turning against Youtube but against GEMA.

GEMA may have won the court case but it has already lost the PR battle.
15:48 April 21, 2012 by catjones
I always wondered why the videos were blurred. Thank-you FatherLand for protecting me and everyone else.
14:43 April 22, 2012 by Englishted
Joseph Goebbels would be proud ,nothing like being the number one in the world even if it is for censorship.

Lost number one exporter to China this is part of the come back.
15:08 April 22, 2012 by coffeelover
I take it gema is equivalent to ria in the usa. comment # 7 is correct Alex. Here in usa, uploaders commonly state, "I hold no copyright to this music, all copyright holders own this music and I claim no ownership of posted music (images if it is video). This is why I can listen to any song ever made by anyone anywhere in the world ( I think). Casual music listeners, who also buy occasionally, will not be buying thanks to gema policy, because they will never hear copyright songs from gema. Avid music fans will always, always find a way to listen to any gema-copyright song, and download for free. It's a tough world now for musicians in this digital age, but since the first record was sold, music industry has profited, not the musician.
20:47 April 22, 2012 by raandy
You tube showed the court where the bear sh^t in the buckweat .
10:48 April 23, 2012 by jodessa
Go to Hell GEMA! a load of crap. Stop registering your music with GEMA people....you want folks to be introduced to new music?? Then cut this crap....This makes me ILL!!!
11:07 April 23, 2012 by michael4096
"YouTube must install filters to prevent users from uploading copyrighted music videos without permission, it said."

There are two ways of reading this: either YouTube must identify what is and what isn't GEMA copyrighted or GEMA must supply a way of identifying what falls under its copyright. As both require a high degree of magic, it's difficult to take the order seriously.

The fundamental problem is that anything can be copyrighted by anybody. I can put a copyright notice on this post - even if it's against the T&Cs of The Local if I can show that the The Local's T&Cs are invalid my copyright notice will stand. As written above, the order is silly because YouTube would not be able to upload anything and be sure it's not copyrighted by anybody.

There are ways of watermarking music and video files which, if GEMA watermerked all of their DVDs etc might catch some copyrighted material but converting it back to video and re-encoding it - possible on just about any smartphone - will beat many schemes.

If I were Google, I would be having quite a few serious meetings about now with the option of blocking Germany from YouTube on the agenda. It's the only technical solution that will meet the order as written above.
16:45 April 23, 2012 by royp
GEMA are rip off merchants, with a legal presumption under German law that they own the music copyright. They are playing a dangerous game with Youtube and google as Google may just purchase all of the German rights to the most popular music ( in english) and cut GEMA out of their money making racket. As it is google they know all of the internet & market info, and are better equiped to take on GEMA then anyone, also if google own the rights they can do their own royalty collection and undermine the legal presumed position and standing of GEMA.

Also they can repeat what they did with google in main land china and redirect all German traffic for youtube to an international advertisement free youtube in a foreign sever, that way youtube would not make any money but could undermine GEMA. GEMA can not claim money if youtube is not set up as a regional or business unit in Germany.
19:34 April 24, 2012 by Englishted
I was sent a e-mail from a fan site I was with,included was a link to you tube to see the latest song before you decide if you want to buy the d.v.d. .

So far so good the artist in question is a singer songwriter and is not German has nothing to do with GEMA ,however I could not watch the video ,just look on a different site till you tube and google put these dinosaurs out the way.
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