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Court: YouTube liable for copyright breaches

A German court ruled on Friday that Google's video sharing service YouTube is responsible when users post copyrighted music clips without permission. The decision could cost YouTube millions in royalties.

Court: YouTube liable for copyright breaches
Photo: DPA

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In the five other cases, the lawsuit was formally withdrawn because there was no evidence that the videos had been uploaded to the site.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

AFP/The Local/bk

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Emergency numbers fail in several German states

Callers to the emergency numbers 110 and 112 weren’t able to reach operators Thursday morning in several German states.

The 112 emergency number on an ambulance.
The 112 emergency number on an ambulance. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Boris Roessler

The emergency number 110 for police and 112 for fire crews failed around the country early Thursday morning, with callers unable to reach emergency operators for urgent assistance between about 4:30 am and 5:40 am local time.

The Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Aid is looking into these outages, which were reported in states including Lower Saxony, Baden-Württemberg, and  Brandenburg, and in major cities like Berlin, Cologne, Hamburg, and Frankfurt. Cologne was further affected by cuts to electricity, drinking water, and regular telephone services. Lower Saxony also saw disruptions to the internal phone networks of police and hospitals.

Emergency services are not reporting any more disturbances and people should be able to once again reach 110 and 112 around the country as normal.

Investigators are looking into the problem, but haven’t yet established a cause or any consequences that may have happened due to the outage. Provider Deutsche Telekom says they have ruled out the possibility of an attack by hackers.

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