Looks like the copyright police are starting to hit back at the internet in a big bad way. A German court ruled today that YouTube is entirely responsible for the content found on its service, and must actively filter music videos belonging to the GEMA, a music royalty group. Not only that, but the European Court of Justice has said that there are no EU rules in place that prevent an ISP from handing over customers information, which could be the deciding factor in a pending court case.
The German ruling is bad news for Google. While YouTube argued that it had no legal responsibility for any copyrighted content posted to the service, they did remove material on request. The German court said that this wasn’t enough, and that YouTube needs to implement filters to catch infringing material belonging to GEMA. That could lead to delayed videos as uploads are inspected for copyrighted songs.
Meanwhile, the European Court of Justice declared that there were no EU protections in place that prevent ISPs from handing over customer details to copyright enforcers. The ISP in question, ePhone, tried to resist handing over a customer’s details after he was accused of hosting 2000 audio books on his server. The case went from the Court of Appeals to the Swedish Supreme Court, eventually landing at the European Court of Justice.
Kristina Ahlinder, president of the Publishers’ Association, said in a statement: “We feel very satisfied with this judgment. It is extremely important that we have received this message.” The case will make its way back to the Swedish Supreme Court, where they will decide if ePhone has to hand over the customer’s data.