YouTube removes copyright clips

Tue 24 April 2012 09:00, Tamara Yadvichuk

YouTube removes copyright clips

Reuters reports that on Friday a court in Hamburg ruled in favor of copyright owners in a case between German royalties collection body GEMA and YouTube, forcing the latter to remove copyrighted music clips on request. So far, seven videos have been removed, and the court decision may have far-reaching consequences.

This ruling, in fact, means that YouYube and similar platforms are responsible for the content uploaded by their users and must remove protected videos on demand of the copyright owner. YouTube’s main argument was that they simply provide the technology which allows users to publish content and shouldn’t be accountable for any copyright infringements – it’s the users who are responsible for publishing illegal content.

Besides asking YouTube to remove videos in question, the court said that uploading these clips again may lead to fines up to €250,000 or six months of custodial sentence for the users who violated court decision.

Legal process started in September 2010, when GEMA filed a suit against YouTube after the two companies failed to agree on copyright issues during negotiations. GEMA, however, is still trying to reach an agreement. "We don't want to take them to court, – said the head of GEMA Harald Heker in an interview with Spiegel, – we want a contract". GEMA demands that YouTube and similar platforms pay them 10% of the advertising revenue brought by music videos, plus a fee every time their video is played.

This court decision may be a significant victory for the music industry in general: for years it has been threatened by numerous online resources that let users access music for free. But to me it seems like a hopeless attempt to win the battle lost a long time ago. It’s a fact that today people CAN get music for free, and companies that want to keep making money selling it need to look for revenue models that create added value and fit the current situation, instead of trying to stop people from sharing what they like. I think that in this sense services like Spotify have a lot of potential. What do you think?

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