YouTube has been facing several court proceedings in recent years brought against it by German music rights group GEMA . In the most recent case, the Higher Regional Court of Munich ruled that YouTube is not liable for content uploaded by its users, even when it profits from videos that are clearly copyright infringing.
In this case, GEMA argued that YouTube is liable for the content its users upload. The music group demanded that YouTube pay €0.375 per view for a selection of copyrighted music videos – totaling to a damages claim of around €1.6 million.
The ruling, which confirmed a ruling from a lower court last summer, resulted in a clear win for Google. This decision is in line with the "safe harbor" principle which, under the appropriate circumstances, holds that User Generated Content services are not responsible for the copyright infringement made by its users if they are unaware of the infringing content and have an effective "notice and take down" procedure in relation to such content. A similar verdict was given in favor of YouTube in the United States three years ago, when Viacom International’s arguments stating that YouTube is liable for infringing content uploaded by its users, were denied by the District Court.