Similar to other sites that rely on user-generated content, Dailymotion has to deal with the occasional unauthorized upload.
In doing so, it generally relies on takedown notices from copyright holders. In most cases, rightsholders report allegedly infringing URLs which Dailymotion then removes.
This is how most of these platforms work. However, according to a recent ruling by the Court of Rome, that’s not always good enough.
The Court ruled that Dailymotion can be held liable for failing to remove copyright-infringing content, even when the specific URLs are never pointed out to the platform. The title of a TV-show plus the name and trademark of a broadcaster already creates an obligation to act, the Court found.
The case in question was filed by RTI, a company owned by Italy-based mass media giant Mediaset. The company complained that Dailymotion hosted hundreds of infringing copies of its TV-shows, such as Big Brother and Celebrity Island.
When RTI pointed this out, identifying just a representative list of specific infringing videos, only the mentioned URLs were removed.
Dailymotion argued that there’s not much else it can do without specific URLs detailing the allegedly infringing content. However, the Court disagreed. In a ruling handed down by the Court of Rome, Dailymotion was ordered to pay €5.5 million to RTI.
According to the ruling, the video platform is seen as an active hosting provider under Article 14 of the European E-Commerce Directive. As such, it can’t benefit from safe harbor exemptions and the company should have taken action when it was notified about allegedly infringing content.
This argument is similar to the previous ruling against The Pirate Bay, which was also held liable for the uploads of its users.
In addition to the €5.5 million in damages, which is €700 per minute for the pirated shows, Dailymotion also has to deal with future uploads. If it fails to do so, the video platform must pay an additional €5,000 for each copyright-infringing video that appears on the site.
Dealing with future uploads is required, as Dailymotion is assumed to have “actual knowledge” of infringements, without the need for rightsholders to point out specific URLs, RTI attorney Alessandro La Rosa informs TorrentFreak.
“The actual knowledge of the infringing content can’t in a way be linked to the specification of the relevant URLs. The Court states that a specific indication of the infringing files [e.g., names and a general desription of shows plus the broadcaster’s trademark] is enough,” La Rosa says.
In other words, when specific TV-shows are pointed out to Dailymotion, the platform must ensure that these titles don’t appear on its site. This implies that Dailymotion has to set up a proactive piracy filtering system targeting specific works, as IPKAT notes.
The ruling poses a threat to similar video hosting services. While most are able to remove specific content, making sure that titles don’t appear on their sites in the future is something entirely different. In fact, it sounds a lot like a mandatory upload filter of specified works, similar to what the new EU copyright directive prescribes.