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German court rules against YouTube over copyright

Fri, 09/03/2010 - 2:05pm
The Associated Press

A German court ruled Friday that Google Inc.'s subsidiary YouTube LLC must pay compensation after users uploaded several videos of performances by singer Sarah Brightman in violation of copyright laws.

The Hamburg state court said the standardized question to users about whether they have the necessary rights to publish material is not enough to relieve YouTube of the legal responsibility for the content, especially because the platform can be used anonymously.

The wording of the court statement appears to be a major blow to YouTube's business model, but Google Germany spokesman Henning Dorstewitz told The Associated Press YouTube will appeal the decision detailed in the 60-page ruling.

YouTube must not publish those videos any more and provide information to settle the amount of compensation in at least three cases in which Brightman videos were uploaded, the court said.

Arnd Haller, director of legal affairs at Google Germany, said the court ruling disregards the current e-commerce directive of the European Union.

"This decision results in a substantial legal uncertainty for all providers of video platforms, opinion forums, social communities, blogs and many other Internet services in Germany," Haller said in a statement.

The plaintiff was not identified and a court spokesman could not be reached for comment. The court statement only said the plaintiff has claimed to be the copyright holder for several of Sarah Brightman's performances.

Google said in a statement that the plaintiff was Frank Peterson. He is a German composer and producer for Brightman and other artists, according to his website.

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