German Copyright Law

September 7, 2010

In June, the Southern District of New York held YouTube’s take-down procedures clearly placed it within the D.M.C.A.’s safe-harbor provisions saving it from massive copyright infringement liability. See 2010 WL 2532404. The AP is now reporting that a German court found YouTube’s efforts do not save it from liability for the infringement of works uploaded by Sarah Brightman fans:

The Hamburg state court said the standardized question to users about whether they have the necessary rights to publish material is not enough to relieve YouTube of the legal responsibility for the content, especially because the platform can be used anonymously.

Of course, German and US copyright law differ. They differ fundamentally:

German copyright law follows the droit d’auteur approach that differs substantially from the approach in the Anglo-Saxon legal system. The droit d’auteur system is based on the rights of authors to reap the fruits of their creations, to obtain rewards for their contributions to society and to protect the integrity of their creations. Justification of copyright is, according to the classic copyright doctrine, primarily based on these arguments, which focus on the protection of the author. Promotion of the progress of science and arts or the incentive to stimulate artistic and scientific creativity for the public good are also cited as justifications for copyright law, but only with secondary significance. 22 CDZAELJ 401

The document cited above was found with the following query:

Intellectual Property Texts and Periodicals: ip-tp

Query: ti(german! and copyright)

Other overviews of German Copyright Law: Eckstrom’s Licensing in Foreign and Domestic Operations (ECKLICN) and Copyright Throughout the World (COPYWORLD) both have chapters dedicated to an overview of German copyright law.