Google Wins YouTube Copyright Suit in France

A French court dismissed a copyright lawsuit against YouTube on Tuesday, deeming the Google-owned video-sharing site’s processes for removing copyrighted material uploaded to the site to be adequate. 

TF1, which is France’s biggest television company, sued YouTube for $176 million in damages, demanding that the video giant filter content before it is uploaded to remove copyright-protected material.

YouTube’s current system, called Content ID, identifies copyrighted videos and then asks the owner if it should take a piece of content down or allow YouTube to sell advertising against it that Google would share with the owner.

Instead of awarding TF1 the damages it sought, the Tribunal de Grande Instance ordered the company to pay for Google’s legal defenses.

According to Christophe Mueller, YouTube’s head of partnerships for Southern Europe, the Middle East and Africa, the decision “upholds the right for user generated content platforms to innovate, allowing us to do even more to help French artists to reach audiences at home and abroad.”

Following the decision, TF1 said it was still considering whether or not to appeal.

The New York Times points out that recent decisions elsewhere run counter to the one handed down in France on Tuesday.

In Germany last month, a court ordered Google to filter out copyrighted content before it is posted to the site. Google is appealing this decision.

In Italy last year, a court ordered Google to keep all content from Mediaset -- a media company owned by former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi -- off its site and that Google would be fined 250 euros per piece of unauthorized content per day.   

In the U.S., an appeals court in April revived the copyright suit that media giant Viacom had brought against YouTube, ruling that a jury should hear the case. 

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