YouTube sees off TV copyright case in Spain

YouTube today won a court victory in Spain over allegations that it had been infringing the copyright of Spanish broadcaster Telecinco.

The case has been in the pipeline a long time, with Telecinco winning a first ruling two years ago. Telecinco had claimed that by airing episodes of TV shows before they were broadcast in Spain, YouTube was exploiting its intellectual property rights and damaging its business.

But the court ruled that it was the responsibility of copyright holders to tell Google when they thought copyright was being infringed. It also pointed out that  YouTube offers content owners tools to remove infringing content.

Google’s “only obligation is to cooperate with the rights holders in order to withdraw the content immediately once the infraction is identified,” said the ruling.

“This decision demonstrates the wisdom of European laws,” says a rather pleased EMEA head of communications Aaron Ferstman, pointing out that it’s rather hard to police a site which has more than 24 hours of video posted every minute.

“YouTube respects copyright laws and wants to ensure that artists, publishers and media companies succeed online,” he says.

“That’s why we built Content ID; our technology is designed to prevent copyright abuses and give owners control over their content. The owner of a video simply gives us a copy and tells us what to do with an unauthorised upload: remove it, place ads next to it, or simply let them know that it’s been uploaded.”

Google successfully saw off a similar suit from Viacom in the US in June.