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Austrian court ruling could hold YouTube liable for copyright infringing content

The preliminary decision means that, if upheld, YouTube, and potentially other major platforms, are legally accountable for the content posted by users on its platform.

An Austrian commercial court has issued a preliminary decision that finds YouTube directly responsible for any copyright infringement committed by users uploading videos to its online platform.

The Hollywood Reporter notes that, in its current form, the decision is not legally binding but if it is upheld in the court’s final ruling this decision could potentially impact how other major content platforms operate in European countries.

The lawsuit itself follows a 2014 complaint from the Austrian TV channel Plus4 against YouTube after its copyrighted content was uploaded to YouTube without the company’s permission. While YouTube hit back at the lawsuit by calling itself a host provider, and thus a service protected by the European Union’s E-Commerce Act, the recent preliminary court ruling now says that YouTube is not protected from liability under the act. 

YouTube has since issued a statement saying that the company is studying the ruling and “holding all our options open, including appealing” the decision.

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