Beginning of this year, four decisions were issued by the Parisian Court of Appeals. In all of them, Google was held liable for copyright infringement for their Google Video service, despite the clear intermediary exemptions in the Electronic Commerce Directive (art.14-15).
Notwithstanding the fact that they immediately removed copyright protected material upon notification, Google was still held liable because it did not prevent people from reposting the content. The court explained that the Internet giant did not put in place all technological measures to prevent the files from being uploaded again. Despite the Court’s denial, this leads to a de facto conflict with art.15 ECD, prohibiting monitoring obligations. In bully-mode and with a certain arrogance vis-a-vis European regulation, the Court even went further. Google was held liable for copyright infringement for the results in their video-search service, even if the content was hosted by third parties!
This deplorable evolution of European law, also to be found in Sweden and several German cases (one of them even claiming that YouTube is not a UGC Platform but adopts the content it shows ‘as its own’), once more confirms the old continent’s shortsightedness and lack of will to encourage innovation and development in the information society.