Bombay HC Rules Against Google and YouTube in Copyright Infringement Case

CopyrightNews    December 12, 2019
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The Bombay High Court (HC) has recently ruled in favor of an Indian filmmaker named Sunil Darshan and against Google and YouTube. With the recent decision awarding damages of Rs 50000 ($700) to the plaintiff, the eight-year-long Copyright Infringement battle came to a temporary end. Although the compensation of this much amount may appear as a joke for someone who has put up a legal battle against a tech giant for several years, its value is symbolic and creates a judiciary precedent that could lead to concerning troubles to YouTube.

The Bollywood filmmaker, Sunil Darshan, filed the lawsuit accusing YouTube of violating his copyrights back in the year 2011. He was fed up with YouTube’s ignorance to remove videos of films that were his copyrighted work, and found the Content-ID reporting system to be highly inadequate.

Besides this, Mr. Darshan said that he intends to file another lawsuit to claim the complete damages that he sustained over these years.

Intended to defend itself, YouTube argued that it could not be held directly liable as it is the users (not YouTube) who upload the content (video) on this platform merely acting as an intermediary. The platform likewise claimed that the filmmaker hadn’t used its DMCA takedown tools. So it never received any report from him.

Since this argument by YouTube hasn’t been defined with certainty, the Indian Court ruled that YouTube and Google should not wait for the reception of DMCA takedown notices from the rights holders as they are aware that the content was protected under copyright. The awareness is based on the aspect that the titles of the videos infringing on copyrights were very revealing.

The Court also agreed that the tech giant made a noticeable profit by keeping the copyright-infringing content, indulging in unauthorized exploitation online. Well, this is confirmed by the fact informing that the copyright-infringing videos on this platform weren’t demonetized, but rather, the revenues obtained were split amid YouTube and the uploaders.

As this means that all the responsibilities to recognize the copyright-protected content or work and then remove the same immediately is placed on Google and YouTube, these two giants experienced a hard time to overturn this. Undoubtedly, that’s the case with the existing EU (European) law, but to come across similar grounds in India is something completely new for the tech giant. With all that said, Google is almost surely going to submit an appeal to the verdict by HC as otherwise, it would soon have to reform nearly everything related to the way it operates. For more visit: 

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