Google has welcomed a ruling in a federal court in Madrid that YouTube is not responsible for ensuring that content uploaded to the site does not contravene copyright laws.
The ruling, which Google described as a "clear victory for the internet", was made after a case brought by Spanish broadcaster Telecinco.
Aaron Ferstman, head of communications for YouTube in EMEA, said in a blog post that the decision was vital for the continued development of the internet.
"This decision demonstrates the wisdom of European laws. If internet sites had to screen all videos, photos and text before allowing them on a web site, popular sites such as Facebook, Twitter and MySpace would grind to a halt," he said.
Ferstman added that the decision reaffirms the view of European law that content owners, not service providers, are in the best position to know whether a specific work is authorised to be on a web site, and reiterated YouTube's efforts to help with this task.
"YouTube respects copyright laws and wants to ensure that artists, publishers and media companies succeed online. That's why we built Content ID. Our technology is designed to prevent copyright abuses and give owners control over content," he said.
"The owner of a video simply gives us a copy and tells us what to do with an unauthorised upload: remove it, place ads next to it or simply let them know that it's been uploaded. Over 1,000 media companies currently use Content ID."
The decision is another victory for YouTube after a successful ruling in a case brought by Viacom over claims that the site had allowed thousands of Viacom-owned video clips to be posted.
A US district court rejected the action, arguing that YouTube owner Google had complied with the safe harbour requirements of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
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