Europe’s top court ruled Tuesday that platforms are not liable for copyright violations on content uploaded by third parties unless the companies fail to take sufficient action.
The decision came in a combined cases against YouTube by music producer Frank Peterson and against file-hosting company Cynado by publisher Elsevier.
The court concluded that “online platforms do not themselves make a communication to the public of copyright-protected content illegally posted online by users of those platforms unless those operators contribute, beyond merely making those platforms available, to giving access to such content to the public in breach of copyright.”
Platforms can still be liable if they fail to deploy tools to tackle copyright violations or if they provide tools for illegally sharing content.
A spokesperson for YouTube said the platform is “a leader in copyright and supports rights holders being paid their fair share.”
“That's why we’ve invested in state of the art copyright tools which have created an entirely new revenue stream for the industry,” the spokesperson added in a statement to The Hill. “In the past 12 months alone we have paid $4B to the music industry, over 30% of which comes from monetised user generated content.”
European Union rules exempt platforms from liability if they remove infringing content after being notified about the violations.
The EU last year added a rule requiring platforms to install filters to block users from uploading copyrighted material, although many of its member nations have yet to implement the law at the national level.