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PARIS – A French court has ruled against broadcaster TF1 in its case against YouTube, deciding that the Google-owned video destination shouldn’t be liable for TF1 programs appearing on its site.
TF1 was asking for €141 million ($175.2 million) in damages, but will instead have to pay €80,000 ($99,400) in Google’s legal fees after the Paris court dismissed the case.
The court argued that YouTube is a hosting site and is thus notresponsible for filtering videos that qualify as copyright infringement, nor obliged to control content uploaded to the site.
The decision was reached by the civil court after TF1 sued YouTube in 2008 claiming that YouTube was hosting TF1’s TV shows and interviews and had no commercial rights to broadcast the material.
TF1 is France’s most-watched channel and owns the rights to movies like La Vie en Rose and Halloween, as well as TV shows including Grey’s Anatomy and Heroes.
The court said that the network showed no sales loss as a result of the online availability of its programs and qualified YouTube as a content platform rather than a content editor. However, YouTube is responsible for taking measures to remove pirated content once the copyright owner makes it aware of its presence on the site.
TF1 told French press on Tuesday the company was surprised by the decision and added it would decide whether to appeal the decision.
Christophe Muller, YouTube partnership executive in France, said in astatement: “[The ruling] upholds the right for user-generated content platforms to innovate, allowing us to do even more to help French artists to reach audiences at home and abroad.”
The fact that the French courts have sided with Google will attract attention around the global media world since similar trials are underway between YouTube and Viacom in the U.S., the English Premier League andother content owners over the use of copyrighted video.
Some media companies have chosen to make friends rather than enemies out of Google. Viacom’s Paramount recently struck a deal to make hundreds of videos available on the platform.
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