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France Lets Google Slide in Copyright Case

France Lets Google Slide in Copyright Case

Today in international tech news: A month after a German court ruled that YouTube was liable for copyright violations, a court in France has dismissed a similar lawsuit. Also: Samsung released its new smartphone in Europe, and Russian search engine Yandex unveiled a music subscription app for iPhones.

By David Vranicar
05/30/12 10:23 AM PT

A French court sided with YouTube in a lawsuit claiming the site should be held liable for copyrighted material uploaded by users, according to The New York Times.

The plaintiff, TF1, France's biggest television network, was seeking 141 million euros, or about US$175 million, in damages. The court, however, sided with YouTube, declaring that the site has taken the necessary steps to prevent copyrighted material from being made available.

TF1 was order to pay 80,000 euros, or a shade less than $100,000, in legal fees.

TF1's lawsuit sought to force YouTube to filter all material before it was uploaded. As it stands now, YouTube has a system for identifying copyrighted materials and informing the copyright holder, who is then at liberty to sell advertising or have YouTube take it down. There are holes in this filtering process, but the French court ruled that YouTube was trying to thwart infringement.

The decision is noteworthy in light of recent rulings in Europe. A German court declared last month that YouTube was responsible for copyrighted content that found its way onto the site; Italy had a similar ruling last year.

Galaxy of Europe

South Korean electronics company Samsung launched its Galaxy S3 smartphone in Europe on Tuesday, according to Reuters.

Samsung, which is currently the world's top smartphone maker, now has a head start on the new iPhone, which will be released sometime in the third quarter, according to the article.

The Galaxy S3 -- which runs on Google's Android OS and is equipped with a feature that tracks users' eye movements to prevent the screen was going black while still in use -- was heavily marketed ahead of its release. Samsung has said it expects the S3 to surpass the S2's total of 20 million worldwide sales, according to Reuters.

Music App for Russian iPhones

Yandex, Russia's biggest search engine, is releasing a music subscription app for the iPhone, according to Giga OM.

Many of the world's top music subscription services, such as Spotify and Rdio, have not launched in Russia. This gives Yandex a chance to corner the market -- but there are questions about the market. Russia has a well-documented history of free (and illegal) file-sharing, which could be one reason companies have thus far strayed from there.

Russians officials there have recently declared that they plan to start taking file-sharing seriously, and Yandex's mobile app could be a step in that direction.

New Zealand Court Rules in Megaupload Case

In New Zealand, a court has ruled that the U.S. must disclose its evidence against now-defunct file-sharing site Megaupload, according to Torrent Freak.

The ruling is designed to allow the site's founder, Kim Dotcom, and other employees to defend themselves against pending extradition requests, according to Torrent Freak.

The U.S. government has accused Megaupload of running a criminal operation, according to Torrent Freak, with charges ranging from racketeering to conspiring to commit copyright infringement.

In the ruling, Judge David Harvey wrote, "In my view there must be fairness and the hearing and balance must be struck, otherwise the record of case becomes dominant virtually to the exclusion of everything else and places the extradition process in danger of becoming an administrative one rather than judicial ...

"There is a complex factual matrix and justiciable issues are complicated by the fact that the United States is attempting to utilize concepts from the civil copyright context as a basis for the application of criminal copyright liability which necessitates a consideration of principles such as the dual use of technology or what they described as significant non-infringing use," he continued.

The U.S. is reportedly considering an appeal of the decision.


Tech Trek is a blog that looks at tech news from around the world. David Vranicar is a freelance journalist currently living in the Netherlands. His ECT News Network archive, with links to articles and podcasts, is available here. You can email him at david.vranicar@newsroom.ectnews.com



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