In Germany, Google is being told to face the music. Literally. The search giant lost a legal battle to a music royalty group, after the court found that Goole is responsible for the content that its users post on YouTube. As a result, any copyright infringement claims that are levied against the site will need to be dealt with by Google. The buck stops there. The fat lady has sung.
And as soon as we're done thinking of all the appropriate sayings, we can move on. Yeah, that should about do it. As part of the legal action, the royalty group, known as Gema, is asking Google to install special software that will detect when copyrighted music files are embedded in uploaded videos, so they can instantly be rejected. In response, Google said, "We remain committed to finding a solution to the music licensing issue in Germany that will benefit artists, composers, authors, publishers and record labels, as well as the wider YouTube community."
In the US, laws are a little different. Websites are essentially able to post whatever kind of copyrighted content they want. But, if the copyright owner requests in writing for the site to take that content down, they must oblige. That is effectively how Google has been handling these kinds of issues so far, though it also has many automated processes that automatically reject videos that violate specific terms of service.