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17 September 2018 at 13:20 BST

German court delays YouTube intellectual property case

Music producer working with singer Sarah Brightman waits on Der Bundesgerichtshof as the court seeks input on interpretation issues.


The German federal court of justice Der Bundesgerichtshof has delayed a ruling in a case concerning potential copyright infringement by YouTube, the streaming platform, for uploads by third parties in order to get input on the issue from the Court of Justice of the European Union.

Referred questions

The plaintiff, a music producer working with vocalist Sarah Brightman, brought the case against YouTube for compensation for Ms Brightman’s music uploaded on the platform. Der Bundesgerichtshof decided to delay the proceedings based on interpretations of Directive 2001/29/EC ‘on the harmonization of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society,’ Directive 2000/31/EC on electronic commerce, and, Directive 2004/48/EC relating to enforcement of intellectual property rights. The court referred a question of whether a platform that makes copyrighted content accessible to the public without consent of the owner qualifies as a ‘public reproduction of their works’ under Directive 2001/29/EC Article 3, Section 1.

Clarification sought

The court also  sought clarification: under Article 14, Section 1 of Directive 2000/31/EC of whether YouTube’s activity falls within its scope, regarding hosting sites having actual knowledge of illegal activity, need to refer to knowledge of specific illegal activities; the Court sought clarification on the situation referred to in Article 8, Section 3 of Directive 2001/29/EC, right-holders being able apply for an injunction against intermediaries whose services are used by a third party to infringe on a right, where the service provided is essentially storing information posted by a third party; and, whether YouTube qualified as an ‘infringer’ for purposes of Article 11 and Article 13 of Directive 2004/48/EC allowing an injunction for continuing infringement and damages for infringement.


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