Google Fined In French Court For Not Stopping Video Copyright Abuse

It turns out Google (NSDQ: GOOG) can still be successfully sued for hosting copyrighted material without authorisation.

Paris’ appeal court has found against Google on four counts in a case brought by a photographer, a film producer called Mondovino, makers of a documentary co-produced with Arte and the makers of another co-produced with Canal+. The search firm was ordered to pay €430,000 ($598,904/£369,370) damages and court costs.

AFP reports they had argued their material appeared in Google search and on Google Video against their wishes. Details in AFP’s report are scant, but the case appears to centre on the fact that the material kept appearing online even after the complainants had notified.

As with the U.S. DCMA, online providers in Europe are protected from copyright infringement claims by a safe harbour arrangement, in article 14 of Europe’s e-commerce directive, if they act after receiving notification of transgression.

Le Point says Google has appealed, complaining the ruling “is contrary to the 2004 law on confidence in the digital economy 2004, which prohibits of the necessity to provide a general monitoring obligation. Moreso, considering that technically, it is unfeasible,” a spokesperson says.

Google has had several video copyright run-ins in Europe, but did manage to get claims by Spain’s Telecinco thrown out last year. This latest case will be mildly annoying since it appears Google breached the defence that Google always issues in such cases – that will happily remove transgressing material if it’s notified of its existence. An obligation to monitor indefinitely for the re-appearance of the material would be significantly onerous.