Thursday 24 May 2012

GEMA and YouTube appeal GEMA v YouTube!

Following the German court ruling last month in the long running dispute between YouTube and Germany's music rights collecting society GEMA, both parties have appealed the decision (more background from Monika here). YouTube was held liable under the principle of Storerhaftung (disturbance liability - secondary liability for contributing to someone else's breach of third party rights and was issued with a permanent injunction to take down a number of songs GEMA administers and ensure those songs do not appear on YouTube in the future 

Whilst YouTube seems more than safe under the US's Digital Millennium Copyright Act and has a 'takedown' system for removing unlicensed content, the German courts have taken a firmer approach and seem to want YouTube to be more proactive in removing infringing material. YouTube will argue that their takedown system is already sophisticated and available to all content owners and that more onerous filtering and removal obligations would not only damage the Google platform, but also other websites and services: YouTube spokesperson Mounira Latrache said "The ruling to implement [more] filtering would be damaging for innovation and freedom of expression online". GEMA has also filed papers seeking further clarification of  the rights of its members to protect their content online.

It seems the parties have been  negotiating over a possible licensing deal since the original court hearing, but as it seems no deal could be reached before the appeals submission deadline, both sides have filed appeals.

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