YouTube wins piracy case against Spanish TV

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Google's video-sharing site YouTube has won a case brought against it by Spanish TV channel Telecinco over intellectual property rights, according to a copy of the ruling seen by AFP Thursday.

Telecinco, believed that "the broadcast on the (YouTube) Internet site of various audiovisual recordings ... was a violation of the intellectual property rights of Telecinco," the ruling by the Madrid court said.

But it is "impossible to control all the videos that are made available to users, as there are in fact more than 500 million.

"YouTube is not a supplier of content and therefore has no obligation to control ex-ante the illegality of those" who log on to its site, said the ruling, issued in Spanish.

"Its only obligation is to cooperate with the holders of the rights in order to immediately withdraw the content once the infraction is identified."

Google, which owns YouTube, immediately hailed the ruling.

"It is the most important ruling in Europe on this question of intellectual property rights," said Bill Echikson, Google spokesman for southern and eastern Europe.

Telecinco, controlled by Italian broadcaster Mediaset which is owned by Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, had accused YouTube of violating its intellectual property rights by broadcasting images belonging to the channel.

It said YouTube was hurting Telecinco by airing episodes of its television shows before the channel broadcast them in Spain.

In July 2008, Telecinco won a first case but Google challenged that decision and the Madrid court backed the appeal in its ruling, made on Monday but released Thursday.

© 2010 AFP

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