A Spanish court has once again ruled in favour of Google’s YouTube service in a copyright infringement claim brought by the TV channel Telecinco, owned by Mediaset Spain. Telecinco had appealed against the Madrid Mercantile Court's ruling of 2010, which absolved YouTube of the responsibility for hosting copyright-protected content from Telecinco's programming that users had uploaded on to the video platform. However, Telecinco's appeal has now been dismissed by Madrid's Provincial Appellate Court, which ruled that internet platforms cannot be compelled to supervise or control users' content.
The ruling also held that the general notices Telecinco sent YouTube or the presence of the TV channel’s logo on the infringing content do not render YouTube liable. The court added that, pursuant to article 15 of the EC’s Directive on Electronic Commerce, it cannot impose an obligation on YouTube to actively monitor the content hosted on the platform.
The decision basically confirms that YouTube is an intermediary service provider with a special liability regime that releases it from the obligation to monitor or actively filter the videos uploaded by users, an argument that can now be extended to other internet platforms and the extent to which they can be held liable for the content they host.
Google continues to argue that it strongly opposes the uploading of copyright-protected content against its owners’ wishes, but that it needs to work together with rightholders to prevent such practices and cannot be required to do so alone.
Telecinco has vowed to take the matter to the Supreme Court via a cassation appeal, the last appeal possible under Spanish law, which could take a further two years or more to resolve.
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