Under the current situation, online platforms do not in principle communicate with the public about copyrighted content illegally posted online by users of those platforms, the European Court of Justice said.
The European Court of Justice added: “YouTube and other platforms can remain liable if they have specific knowledge that protected content is available illegally via their platform and refrain from promptly removing or denying access to it.”
In addition, the European Union recently introduced copyright reforms aimed at making its rules suitable for the digital age.
One part of the law that was highly controversial at the time meant that YouTube, Facebook and other platforms would have to install filters to prevent users from sharing copyrighted material.
Tuesday’s ruling focuses on the bloc’s old copyright rules. The case arose from a lawsuit by music producer Frank Peterson against YouTube over the uploading of recordings in 2008 in which he claimed the rights.
The news is a victory for the platform and other content-sharing sites. YouTube has long been in discussions with artists and musicians about how to compensate them fairly for work distributed across the web.
YouTube has clamped down on copyright violations over the years, a move that has angered some of the popular content makers across the platform.
Tensions over YouTube’s copyright actions escalated in 2020. This was after the company automated the moderation of content due to the coronavirus.
A YouTube spokesperson said: “We’ve paid more than $4 billion to the music industry over the past 12 months. 30% of that amount comes from the videos that are monetized.
“YouTube is a pioneer in copyright and supports rights holders getting their fair share,” he added. As a result, we have invested in state-of-the-art copyright tools that have created a new revenue stream for the industry.