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German Court Puts YouTube on the Hook for Copyright Sins

German Court Puts YouTube on the Hook for Copyright Sins

Today in international tech news: Legal battles galore. In the latest go-around between Germany and Google, a German court rules that YouTube is responsible for copyrighted materials uploaded by users. Meanwhile, courts in Europe and Australia address the issue of ISP liability, a website called "Facebox" ticks off you-know-who, and Apple defends itself in a 3G/4G snafu.

By David Vranicar TechNewsWorld ECT News Network
04/20/12 8:52 AM PT

A Germany court ruled Friday that YouTube is responsible for content uploaded to the site.

According to the BBC, the court

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.

The German industry group said in court that YouTube had not done enough to stop copyrighted clips being posted ...

Gema's court case was based on seven separate music clips posted to the website. However, if YouTube is forced to pay royalties for all the clips used on the site, it will face a huge bill.

This is not the first time there has been tension between Germany and Google, which owns YouTube.

Apple Defends Itself

Apple filed a claim in Australia defending itself against charges that its new iPad shouldn't be dubbed "4G."

According to an article in The Australian, Australia's Competition and Consumer Commission, or ACC, claims that the new iPad should not be labeled "4G" because, alas, the device does not pick up Australia's 4G networks.

Apple rebutted by telling Australian authorities that while the device doesn't operate on Australia's 4G networks, its data transfer speeds are in accordance with 4G.

As ZDNet explains:

This is due to the fact that the new device, launched last month, does not work on long-term evolution (LTE) networks in Australia. It will work on LTE networks in the 2100MHz and 700MHz spectrum bands, but Australian telcos are using the 1800MHz spectrum bands at the moment, because the 700MHz band is still being used for analog TV.

In March, Apple said that it would display signs at stores and on its website clarifying the 4G/3G confusion, and even went so far as to offer refunds on affected iPads.

Aussie ISP Liability

Australia's High Court ruled Friday that ISPs are not liable for copyright infringement in what the Sydney Morning Herald called a "damaging blow ... to the giants of the film industry."

The ruling stemmed from a case brought against iiNet, Australia's second largest ISP.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald,

In a summary the court observed that iiNet "had no direct technical power" to prevent its customers from illegally downloading pirated content using BitTorrent, a popular protocol used to share files online.

iiNet CEO Michael Malone welcomed the ruling and said Hollywood should now focus on increasing the availability of lawful content in a timely and affordable manner. "We have consistently said we are eager to work with the studios to make their very desirable material legitimately available to a waiting customer base -- and that offer remains the same today," he said.

The ruling upholds a 2010 verdict in which courts ruled that iiNet did not authorize the downloads and therefore wasn't liable.

Meanwhile, In Sweden ...

The European Court of Justice ruled Thursday that a Swedish law does not prevent courts from forcing ISPs to disclose data of alleged pirates.

From Cnet:

The move could pave the way for Sweden's highest court to force ISPs to hand over user data upon request whenever a person is suspected of pirating music, movies, e-books or any other form of entertainment.

The ECJ got involved when a Swedish ISP, ePhone, didn't disclose information for ePhone users who were accused of pirating content that belonged to book publishers. The case now moves back to the Swedish Supreme Court.

German Service Irks Facebook

Facebox, a holiday greeting service on the German island of Norderney, has drawn the ire of Facebook.

Facebox allows visitors to Norderney, which is located in the North Sea, to record videos of themselves and post them to the Web.

Facebook has reportedly filed a suit against Facebox.

This is a clumsy translation from NDR.de:

... Facebook has lodged an objection. The Patent Office should withdraw the item, ask the lawyers of the social network. There would be a likelihood of confusion, since both terms differed by only two letters.

On a comparison with Facebook was not interested in the resort management. Instead, they wanted to wait in silence, as the patent office decides. When this is done is still uncertain.

According to the German outlet Der Spiegel, a Norderney marketing director likened Facebox vs. Facebook to David vs. Goliath.


Tech Trek is a blog that looks at tech news from around the world. David Vranicar is a freelance journalist currently living in the Netherlands. His ECT News Network archive, with links to articles and podcasts, is available here.



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