YouTube decision ‘a blow’ for rights hoders

Yesterday’s decision by a Spanish court to dismiss a broadcaster’s legal case against video-sharing site YouTube sets an important legal precedent and is a blow to rights holders, according to legal experts. The Madrid court threw out a case brought by Mediaset-backed Spanish free-to-air broadcaster Telecinco. It had alleged the Google-backed website had infringed its copyright and was responsible for removing content to which it owned the right. The court ruled that it is actually the responsibility of the broadcaster to notify YouTube if its content is on the site.

“This is an important judgment, as it’s the first of its kind in Europe involving YouTube and is a straw in the wind for how these issues will play out in European Courts,” said Mark Owen, head of the Intellectual Property Practice at London law firm Harbottle & Lewis. “While comforting for services such as YouTube it is a blow to companies which have spent considerable sums on copyrights. It places the onus on them to monitor sites such as YouTube and similar sites and not on the sites themselves, to keep track of infringements.”

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