The European Court of Justice ruled on June 22 that Google-owned YouTube and other similar platforms are not liable for users’ posting of copyrighted media at large.
However, social media platforms can still be held responsible if late or no action is taken to remove or block access to copyrighted media. The verdict also determined that platforms ought to implement necessary technologies to combat unlawful uploads.
Copyright rules and regulations on social media platforms have developed and evolved in tune with the advancing digital age. Just last year copyright reforms were introduced by the European Union which included Article 17 – a rule that would require YouTube and more platforms to filter and block copyrighted media uploaded by users.
The EU Court of Justice states:
‘As currently stands, operators of online platforms do not, in principle, themselves make a communication to the public of copyright-protected content illegally posted online by users of those platforms.’
‘At the same time, the court said in the decision, an internet platform operator like YouTube may still be found liable for copyright infringement if it “has specific knowledge that protected content is available illegally on its platform and refrains from expeditiously deleting it or blocking access to it,’The EU Court of Justice
The ruling is in favour of YouTube, who has experienced numerous legal battles over the years concerning properly compensating artists for their work. YouTube’s representative claims that the company paid $4bil and more to the music industry in the past 12 months with 30% of the sum coming from user-uploaded content.
The representative said:
‘YouTube is a leader in copyright and supports rights holders being paid their fair share,’ and added, ‘That’s why we’ve invested in state of the art copyright tools which have created an entirely new revenue stream for the industry.’
The full ruling by the EU Court of Justice can be read here.
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