In the long-running battle between Europe’s $1 trillion creative industry and online platforms, the European Court of Justice ruled that Google’s YouTube and other online platforms are not liable for copyright-infringing works uploaded by users.
The Court found that “operators of online platforms do not, in principle, themselves make a communication to the public of copyright-protected content illegally posted online by users of those platforms”.
However, such platforms could still be liable under certain conditions:
- “those operators do make such a communication in breach of copyright where they contribute, beyond merely making those platforms available, to giving access to such content to the public”;
- “has specific knowledge that protected content is available illegally on its platform and refrains from expeditiously deleting it or blocking access to it,”;
- “refrains from putting in place the appropriate technological measures … in order to counter credibly and effectively copyright infringements on that platform”; OR
- “participates in selecting protected content illegally communicated to the public, provides tools on its platform specifically intended for the illegal sharing of such content or knowingly promotes such sharing”.
This judgment arose from the Joined Cases C 682/18 (Youtube) and C 683/18 (Cyando).