YouTube prevails in French copyright lawsuit

French court dismisses copyright infringement suit from broadcaster TF1

A week after its courtroom triumph over Oracle Corp., Google has scored an international victory against French television broadcaster TF1. The channel sued Google-owned YouTube for copyright infringement in March 2008, arguing that the video hosting site was liable for TF1 programs posted by users.

A French court rejected these charges Tuesday, ruling that, as a hosting service, "the defendant is not responsible in principle for the video content on its site; only the users of the site are.” To add insult to injury, the broadcaster—which sought $175 million in damages—will have to pay nearly $100,000 in Google’s legal fees.

Christophe Muller, head of YouTube partnerships in Southern Europe, the Middle East and Africa, lauded the decision in a blog post. "The verdict demonstrates how the Internet is enriching French culture," he wrote. "By embracing the Web, this verdict moves France a step forward to further benefit from (the) Internet's massive economic and cultural opportunity."

The decision is just the most recent in a string of copyright complaints against the online video service. In April, a German court was less forgiving than its French counterpart, ordering the site to install filtering software to keep users from uploading infringing material.

YouTube has also faced litigation stateside, notably in the form of a long-running copyright battle with Viacom Inc. In 2010, U.S. District Judge Louis Stanton ruled that the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act protected YouTube from liability, provided that the site removed copyrighted videos after receiving takedown notices. But the 2nd Circuit revived the lawsuit last month when it returned the case to a lower court.

Read more on the verdict from PC Magazine.

Contributing Author

Alanna Byrne

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