CIAM backs legal moves against YouTube

German composer filed copyright suit earlier this year

LONDON -- The International Council of Creators of Music (CIAM), part of the global authors' rights body CISAC, has backed legal moves against YouTube/Google in Germany.

Legal proceedings are due to take place at the district court of civil law in Hamburg, following a complaint of violations of copyright and master rights in relation to user-generated content on YouTube. German composer Frank Peterson filed the lawsuit in April, claiming that his music videos and other audiovisual repertoire were used illegally on the site.

In addition to this claim under German civil law, authors, artists and independent publishers and labels have brought a charge before the public prosecutor's office in Hamburg against the directors of Google, accusing them of continuing commercial infringements of authors' rights, copyright, moral rights and performance and master rights.

In a statement, CIAM said that it "welcomes and wholeheartedly supports these actions by authors in Germany, in order to clarify to what extent in particular the moral rights of music authors have been permanently damaged by the defendants and furthermore whether the responsible directors of Google can be personally called to account for illegal distribution of music on an unprecedented scale."

Those filing the complaints include U.K. soprano Sarah Brightman and Frank Peterson, and German producers Jon Caffery (Die Toten Hosen) and Toni Cottura (Backstreet Boys, Twenty Four Seven, Scatman). A Hamburg-based Google spokesman previously said the claims were "unfounded."