German collecting society GEMA’s battle with YouTube continues, but the latter has prevailed in the latest round.

The Munich Regional Appeal Court reaffirmed that individual uploaders, rather than YouTube, are responsible for infringing content on the service.

That’s more backup for YouTube’s argument that it qualifies for safe-harbour protection – an argument that music rightsholders beyond GEMA would like to disprove.

“It is an automatism. In the moment a user uploads a video, it is made accessible to the public – without any assistance from YouTube. The platform only provides the tools,” ruled the judge.

GEMA plans to appeal the decision, again. “YouTube is not only a technical service provider, it actually conducts itself like a music service,” said its director of broadcasting and online Thomas Theune. “As a consequence, YouTube should, just like a music service, obtain licences and not pass the responsibility on to the uploaders”.

And YouTube? “We’ve always been open to working with GEMA – we already have agreements with more than 20 collecting societies across Europe to ensure that rightsholders are remunerated,” said its spokesperson.

“Unfortunately, German artists and authors are missing out – but our door is always open and we hope to find a solution together with GEMA, instead of through the courts.”

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