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In our last article we saw what measures YouTube took to fight against stream-ripping. But these measures are not considered sufficient by some; that’s why many countries are trying to take matters in their own hands. However, Europe’s position remains problematic for the rights holders.
Denmark, for instance, recently added YouTube rippers to its blocking list. A pioneer in this domain, Denmark began blocking 17 years ago and since then more than 200 sites have been added to ISP lists. In September 2022, nine new sites were added, and with targets such as y2mate.com, savefrom.net and loader.to, the focus is on YouTube hacks.
YouTube was indeed listed among the most used “pirate sites” by Danish Internet users (along with … Facebook).
In 2018, Denmark became the first country to take blocking measures against YouTube pirates. With the latest court ruling, rights holders hope that it will be harder for the public to download from streaming sites. However, history also shows that blocking is not a quick fix.
Reasons given by users in the UK for using stream-ripping (2019-Statista)
The United Kingdom managed to have stream-rippers removed from Google search results in September 2022. Indeed, following a blocking order and a request to remove thousands of links leading to such sites, music producers BPI and PPL sent a copy of the UK High Court order to Google, requesting the removal of the listed domains. Although Google is not legally bound to comply, it has done so voluntarily, but only in the UK.
However, the European Court of Justice clearly ruled in 2021, following a preliminary question from the German courts, that YouTube was not “directly responsible“ for content posted by users on the platform as long as they played a passive role in not encouraging users to share illegal content.
However, the Court clarified that YouTube had an obligation to take action once they became aware of illegal activity. The platform would then be liable if they refuse to act.
In June 2022 the German high court counter-attacked with a ruling that online video sharing platforms could be held liable for uploading infringing content. The platforms would only be liable if they did not act immediately, but would still be liable.
The EUCJ, however, will probably not confirm this position, and will continue to defend the non-liability of platforms in this case, which will therefore not allow EU member states to pass national laws in this sense. The German court’s ruling does send a strong signal that states are willing to fight against this phenomenon.
In addition, YouTube continues its efforts to fight against illegal videos being uploaded. In the spring of 2022, for example, the platform changed the way it handles the uploading of videos. Indeed, from now on, when users add their video to their channel, an algorithm analyzes it to detect “any copyright problem that could restrict its visibility” at the time of uploading. This new feature “Checks”, is accessible via YouTube Studio.
However, if you are a copyright owner, you have certainly already noticed the presence of one of your contents on the platform. In addition, discussions and private messages on networks such as the subreddit r/Piracy very regularly refer to illegal content on Youtube.
These measures, even if they help to fight against piracy, are far from being sufficient and must absolutely be complemented by actions of the rights holders: search for content infringing their copyrights and requests for removal.
We will be back May 15 for our next two-part article about copyright on another, more complex platform: Twitch, the bastion of stream gaming (but not only).
In the meantime, if you have content to protect – a movie, a TV show, a music album or a live event – don’t hesitate to contact one of our account managers, we’ll be happy to help you, so you can regain control of your revenues!