Just reading on the BBC that YouTube has lost a court battle in Germany over not paying royalties for music uploaded to the site.
“YouTube could face a huge bill for royalties after it lost a court battle in Germany over music videos.
A court in Hamburg ruled that YouTube is responsible for the content that users post to the video sharing site.
It wants the video site to install filters that spot when users try to post music clips whose rights are held by royalty collection group, Gema.”
We have posted elsewhere on this blog about Google’s habitual failure to recognise anybody else’s IP rights other than their own, and YouTube is no exception to this.
We know that there is a huge piracy debate about how Record Lables and Movie Studios are going to break the internet through the implementation of SOPA etc, but the debate over piracy has been around for a long time.
Wherever you stand on the issue, the fact that YouTube lost its case is hugely significant.
The court ruled that YouTube is responsible for the content that users post to the video sharing site.
YouTube has always taken the position that it “took no responsibility for what users did, but responded when told of copyright violations”.
This will no longer cut it, and this case is going to force YouTube’s hand with regard to paying royalties.
Remember Pete Waterman talking about the phenomenon of “Rick Rolling”?
He claimed in 2010 that the Rick Astley song “Never Gonna Give You Up”, which he co-wrote, and which had been viewed more than 100 million times, had earned him the princely sum of £11 from YouTube. Go figure.
Whatever you think about the fairness of it, the fact remains that other people’s content belongs to the rights holders.
The German court ruling is an absolute watershed moment for the future of YouTube, because if everybody decides they require their royalties being paid, YouTube will face a monstrous bill, which will probably make it economically non-viable.
If you just can’t get enough of cat videos and the other stuff that YouTube is the mecca of, it might be time to start ripping them to your hard disk, because the days of the site could be numbered after this ruling.
You know where you heard it first.