Links & Law - Information about legal aspects of search engines, linking and framing

Hyperlink & Search Engine Law News  Decisions & Court Documents Worldwide Legal Resources (Hyperlink & Search Engine Law Articles) Linking Law Cases Search Engine Law Publications by Dr. Stephan Ott Technical    Background

 Legal trouble for YouTube in Germany

The Regional Court of Hamburg declined to issue a preliminary injunction against YouTube which would have forced the site to remove 75 music videos in a conflict with eight royalty collecting bodies (inter alia GEMA, ASCAP, BMI). However, the court also said that the plaintiffs may actually have a right to ask YouTube to remove the unlicensed music videos and that the company indeed has some duty to take care of detecting illegal uploads. The only reason for the dismissal of the suit was that the collecting bodys had known for a long time that the songs were available on YouTube and had not done anything against it. So they only have the opportunity to ask for a ruling in regular proceedings.


So no big surprise, a few days later the Regional Court of Hamburg did issue a preliminary injunction against YouTube in another case brought by  Frank Peterson, a German composer and producer for Sarah Brightman and other artists. YouTube was ordered to pay compensation after users uploaded several videos of performances by Sarah Brightman in violation of copyright laws. Google had unsuccessfully argued that it can't be held responsible for making sure the content users upload is not infringing, and pointed out that it even asks users to confirm that they have the rights to upload the works they're uploading. However, the court claimed that such a requirement doesn't absolve YouTube from liability.


The Regional Court of Hamburg is quite notorious in Germany for its ill considered decisions regarding liability of internet providers. I would not be surprised if the Hamburg Upper Regional Court on appeal will at least not award any damages to the plaintff. The decision clearly is in violation of European law, the E-Commerce-Directive, in this regard. The court concluded that YouTube was treating content uploaded by its users as its own. That leads to a more strenuous duty to check out the content. The court came to the conclusion YouTube did not fulfil this.




The Links & Law website is updated regularily, so  check back for updated information and resources about search engine and linking issues.

You are currently in the archive with older news. A complete list of the updates can be found here!


Masthead/Curriculum Vitae
Copyright © 2002-2008 Dr. Stephan Ott 

All Rights Reserved.