Google Prevails in YouTube Copyright Case in Spain

A Madrid court dismissed a copyright-infringement lawsuit filed by a Spanish media conglomerate against YouTube, Google said Thursday.

Telecinco wanted Google hit with breaking European copyright laws because people have uploaded Telecinco-owned videos to YouTube, but a court ruled that Google wasn't liable.

"This decision is a clear victory for the Internet and the rules that govern it," Aaron Ferstman, head of communications for YouTube in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, wrote in a blog post.

YouTube offers tools for copyright owners to notify it about infringing uploads and have them removed from the site, so it's up to Telecinco to alert YouTube and request that clips be taken down, the court concluded, according to Google.

"The law strikes a careful balance: it protects copyright owners' interests while allowing platforms like YouTube to operate," he wrote.

Telecinco also expressed satisfaction with the court's ruling because it left open the door for an appeal, which the media company lost no time in filing on Thursday, according to a statement a Telecinco spokeswoman sent to IDG News Service via e-mail.

"Telecinco expresses its satisfaction with the content of the ruling and reaffirms its decision to defend itself from the attacks against its intellectual property with all of the resources at its disposal," the Telecinco statement reads.

Google won a case on similar grounds in June in the U.S., when a judge dismissed a US$1 billion lawsuit filed by Viacom in 2007 alleging massive copyright infringement by YouTube. Viacom intends to appeal that ruling.

Google bought YouTube in October 2006 for $1.65 billion. The video sharing site is by far the most popular of its kind, used by millions of people and organizations to upload clips that range from completely amateur to professional grade.

Companies have been warming up to YouTube as a vehicle to market their products and services by hosting their own video channels, while marketers are increasingly advertising on the site.

Google officials have said repeatedly that YouTube is a key piece in Google's strategy to diversify its online ad offerings by increasing the amount of display ads it sells. Most of Google's revenue comes from text pay-per-click search ads.

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