French court backs Google in TV piracy case

Tue May 29, 2012 12:59pm EDT
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PARIS (Reuters) - A French court ruled that Google is not responsible for filtering content on YouTube, dealing a blow to French broadcaster TF1 which sought damages for copyrighted sports and movies which ended up on the video-sharing website.

TF1 claimed 141 million euros in damages but was ordered to pay 80,000 euros of Google's legal fees.

The decision mirrors an earlier case in France in 2011 in which video-sharing website Dailymotion was classified as a 'platform' for content and not an 'editor' of content.

The two French decisions mean that the websites are not legally responsible for ensuring that pirated content does not appear, as long as they take steps to remove it once the copyright owner indicates its presence.

Google faces other cases in the United States involving media giant Viacom and in Italy involving broadcaster Mediaset over whether its YouTube site is responsible for pirated content.

A German court ruled in April that YouTube was responsible for the content its users published and should take down copyrighted clips or face a hefty royalties bill.

In April a U.S. appeals court also dealt Google a blow by reviving lawsuits by Viacom Inc, the English Premier League and other media companies over the use of copyrighted videos on YouTube.

In France the courts have sided with Google.

"The defendant is not responsible in principle for the video content on its site; only the users of the site are," the decision reads.   Continued...

A woman walks past the Google Chicago headquarters logo in Chicago, March 20, 2012. REUTERS/Jim Young