EU Court Adviser Says YouTube is not Liable for User Copyright Breaches

A European Court of Justice (ECJ) adviser has quite recently stated that YouTube (an American online video-sharing platform) and other online platforms are not at all liable for the users who upload Copyrighted works illegally on their platforms; however, in this scenario, the copyright holders can indeed ask for injunctions against such users. The EU judges, who have followed such opinions in four cases out of five, shall rule on this matter in the coming months.

For quite a while now, the owners of the social media channels and online platforms have found themselves stuck in an issue corresponding to how much responsibility they all should bear for the hateful or illegal content posted on their platforms. The European Commission is now actively looking forward to addressing these issues and concerns by coming up with new rules and regulations, known as the Digital Services Act, at the end of the year.

In a non-binding opinion concerning two cases before the court, Advocate General Henrik Saugmandsgaard Øe said that the present EU rules exempt YouTube and other online platforms from such a responsibility when they are informed of violations and remove them. He mentioned that because of the current EU law, the online platform operators, including YouTube, aren’t directly liable for the illegal uploading of protected or copyrighted works by the users of their platforms. According to him, if the platforms are made directly liable, then there would be a risk of the platform operators becoming the judges of the matter of online legality. Additionally, he said that there would also be a risk of ‘over-removal’ of content by the platforms at the request of the users, which would also lead to the removal of legal content.

The first case before the court revolves around a music producer, Frank Peterson, who sued Google and YouTube in Germany for uploading several phonograms (for which he holds the rights) on YouTube in 2018.

The second case revolves around the publishing group Elsevier’s lawsuit against Cyando in Germany for illegally uploading quite a few of Elsevier’s works on its file-hosting and file-sharing platform, known as Uploaded, in 2013. For more visit:

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