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First off today, the AFP reports that an Austrian court has ruled that YouTube should be held partially liable for copyright infringement by its users and that it is not eligible for safe harbor protections as it is not a “neutral intermediary” when it comes to displaying video.
The lawsuit was filed by Austria’s Plus 4 television station, which sued YouTube over unlicensed clips from its content on the site. Plus 4 argued that YouTube’s algorithms, which pair users with content they may enjoy based upon their browsing habits, means that they are taking an active role in the content.
The court agreed and ruled that YouTube should be held partially liable for the infringement. The decision is not legally binding as of yet, but, if it is held up on appeal, could force YouTube (as well as other providers) to take greater steps to ensure that copyright infringing material is not uploaded to their service.
Next up today, thee BBC reports that a proposed copyright reform in the EU is generating protests with some warning that the law could “kill memes” and otherwise damage the internet.
Though the Copyright Directive is a broad law that includes many components, Article 13 has generated a great deal of controversy. It would require hosts, such as YouTube and Facebook. to actively filter for copyright infringing content. This has led to widespread criticism of the article, saying that passing it as it is now would have a “substantial” impact on the internet.
The Copyright Directive has other elements that enjoy broad support, such as making it easier for some organizations, including schools, to use copyright protected content. The Copyright Directive will come before the European Parliament for a vote on Wednesday, June 20.
Finally today, Andrew Limbong at NPR reports that a tentative settlement has been reached in the “Dancing Baby” case, possibly bringing nearly 11 years of litigation to a close.
The lawsuit began in 2007 after mother Stephanie Lenz uploaded a video of her baby dancing with Prince’s Let’s Go Crazy playing in the background. Universal Music, which is the rightsholder to the song, filed a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown notice to get the video removed. Lenz, with the help of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, filed a lawsuit saying that the takedown was improper.
The case made it to the Ninth Circuit, which ruled that, though rightsholders did have to weigh fair use when filing a takedown, they only needed a subjective good faith belief. Lenz appealed to the Supreme Court but the court declined to hear the case. With the case kicked back down to the lower courts, Lenz, as the plaintiff, would have been tasked with proving that Universal did not have such a belief. However, that issue may be moot as both sides have indicated that they have reached a settlement in the dispute. The terms of the settlement are confidential and are pending final approval from the court.
That’s it for the three count today. We will be back tomorrow with three more copyright links. If you have a link that you want to suggest a link for the column or have any proposals to make it better. Feel free to leave a comment or send me an email. I hope to hear from you.