back to article Euro court rules YouTube not automatically liable for users illegally uploading copyright-protected material

Europe's leading court has partly sided with YouTube regarding copyrighted works posted illegally online in a case that touches on "profound divisions" in how the internet is used. The case, Frank Peterson and Elsevier Inc. v Google LLC and Others, was first brought by German music producer Peterson against the YouTube …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    YouTube seems to be pretty good at this

    I recently completed a demo of cover songs for an artist (hopefully an "Upcomiong artist but probably not) which consisted of very different recordings of some well known songs - different keys, different voicing and instrumentation and even arrangements in a few cases.

    Aforementioned upcoming artist uploaded songs to her YouTube channel, and out of 12 recordings, 10 were correctly identified by YouTube, and attribution correctly made to the copyright holders. I was frankly impressed by the accuracy given the source material, to the degree I'd expect the problem to be more in the realm of false positives (How many songs are based on a. 12 bar blues progression in A?) .

    She gets to leave the songs up, but the copyright holder gets the mailbox money.

  2. Intractable Potsherd

    Sarah Brightman?

    I have to confess that I didn't think Sarah Brightman was still performing after about the mud-1990s, if not earlier ("I fell in love with a starship trooper" and something with an opera singer being all I was aware of, other than her marriage to Andrew Lloyd Webber). I was astounded to find that she is a really successful singer (that "something with an opera singer" was one of best selling singles ever, the opera singer being Andrea Bocelli, who even I have heard of). It seems that she also began training to go to the ISS less than 10 years ago! ( Brightman)

    I may not like her style of music (I hate operatic sopranos with a passion), but I've learned something today.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Sarah Brightman?

      She was also the original Christine opposite Michael Crawford in Phantom of the Opera. You m ay have heard of that too :-)

  3. Potemkine! Silver badge

    What if it was only possible that rights over a song could be owned by the author and the composer, and not being transferable in any way?

    1. Spanners Silver badge
      Thumb Up


      ...owned by the author and the composer...

      Because that would decrease the profits of some hugely rich organisations (mostly US), that isn't going to happen. Good idea though...

    2. JimC

      Then an awful lot of authors and composers would be worse off. The current system is pretty poor, but its better than any alternatives anyone has dreamed up.

    3. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge


      In that case, authors would not be allowed to sell the rights to their songs in order to have money now, rather than a small income over their whole lifetime. Which money they might need immediately.

      A band might want to buy themselves musical instruments, houses, a home studio, or just masses of cocaine. The last two are effectively the same in terms of financial return on investment...

      Also if an author died the day after they wrote the song, should their family not be entitled to some of the money they would have received if the author lived to a ripe old age?

    4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "What if it was only possible that rights over a song could be owned by the author and the composer, and not being transferable in any way?"

      ...and the performer. Otherwise no one would ever perform them and neither the author nor composer would get anything unless they were also performers.

  4. Andy The Hat Silver badge

    It's the age old argument of whether a 'platform' is a carrier or a publisher of material.

    I would expect this to be reversed in court several times before they finally get an answer, which will be moot as the law changed years ago anyway so the lawyers gravy train can be fired up once more ...

  5. John Sturdy

    Own goal?

    I'm one of the probably dwindling number of people who still buy recordings on physical media.

    I can't remember when I last decided to buy (a DVD or CD) other than having heard/watched a sample of it online, almost always on YouTube.

    If I'm aware that an artist or media company is arsey about online samples, I buy the media second-hand, e.g. because of the Sony BMG rootkit scandal, I completed my James Bond DVD collection entirely second-hand.

    And I can't be the only one for whom such samples are their main way of finding media to buy. So they may have shot themselves in the foot (I certainly hope so).

  6. Graham Cobb Silver badge

    YouTube are very happy

    YouTube love heavy and complex rules and heavy licensing payments because they create massive barriers to entry. The only people who can create any sort of similar service today are either big media companies, or other Internet giants. No one else can afford the investment in filters, licences, etc.

  7. 89724102172714182892114I7551670349743096734346773478647892349863592355648544996312855148587659264921

    Youtube is the last place anyone should post original music - it gets ripped off. I make original jingles, after a hard day's soul death working in IT... and one of my tunes, my sequence of 12 notes featured on Ridley Scott's "Raised By Wolves", Episode 5 - between 9m 53s and 10.25s. As the notes rolled out, I became more and more incredulous - I knew what note was coming next, note after note, and it didn't stop... my music continued playing at me from a TV show. It was simply sampled and stretched out to occupy more time, without altering pitch, but those are my notes in sequence and my unique instrument. So I've stopped posting new material on Youtube. Fcuking annoying. I left some narked off messages on an answering machine, because after I sent an email to Ridley Scott, his website went offline. It's too expensive to do anything about.

  8. Timbo Bronze badge


    So, an EU court has basically said that YouTube (which actually hosts, on it's servers, potentially copyrighted material), is not THAT responsible where users have uploaded said material.

    And yet, in the UK courts, back in November 2019, a ruling was made on the joint action brought by Warners & Sony against TuneIn (an aggregator site providing "links" to websites it does not own or control, that stream music and other material), has basically found that TuneIn is responsible and this has now lead to the majority of "internet radio" products now ceasing to work (such as Sonos and others), where they use TuneIn as the "source" of the links.

    As a result, UK users can/will now only be able to stream "internet radio" from UK sources, though in some cases of certain hardware, the manufacturers are blocking EVERY internet radio source, irrespective of originating country.

    Clearly, big corporations money and their lawyers are the root cause of this latter issue...

    TuneIn filed an appeal against this ruling and the judgement was made on 29th March 2021 and TuneIn failed to overturn the original verdict.

    Sony and Warners have also gone to the UK High Court on 3rd Feb 2021, to prevent ISP's actually allowing UK internet users to access any foreign streaming internet radio stations to ensure that ISPs actually block access to many websites:

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