Of all the overly oppressive music industry groups in the world, German royalty collections body GEMA definitely ranks near the top — especially after a recent court case the group won against Google’s YouTube.
GEMA, which represents over 60,000 German writers and musicians, brought a copyright infringement lawsuit against YouTube in 2010 due to 12 music videos that were uploaded to the site without permission. The German court ruled today that YouTube didn’t do nearly enough to prevent its users from posting that content.
As such, YouTube could get slapped with a huge bill to pay for all the music royalties from the 12 videos in question, as well as other videos in the future. The court also ruled that YouTube must implement more stringent filters for video uploads — this is on top of YouTube’s current filtering technology, which seems to do fine here in the U.S.
Forcing YouTube to pay royalties on music that its users uploaded actually gives the copyright holders an incentive to have their music illegally placed online. In the U.S., this type of situation is avoided with the DMCA, which states that the site in question of violating a copyright must remove the material within a reasonable amount of time after being alerted to it.
It’s likely that Google will appeal the German court’s decision. We’re reaching out to the company for further comment, and will update the post with any new information.