Lord of the Files: International Secondary Liability for Internet Service Providers
Lord of the Files: International Secondar y Liability for Internet Ser vice Providers
Emerald Smith 0 1
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1 Emerald Smith, Lord of the Files: International Secondary Liability for Internet Service Providers , 68
Part of the Communications Law Commons; and the Computer Law Commons
Lord of the Files: International Secondary
Liability for Internet Service Providers
II. International Copyright Law and the WIPO ..............................1560
III. Specificity in Secondary Liability Legislation and Results .......1564
A. Implementation in the United States: The DMCA
and Its Application ..............................................................1564
B. Liability in Viacom International Inc. v. YouTube, Inc.......1568
How responsible are those who provide Internet services for the
actions of those who use those services? With Internet companies
expanding beyond national borders1 and user-generated content now a
∗ Candidate for J.D., Washington and Lee University School of Law, May 2012.
The author would like to thank Professor Sarah K. Wiant and Rob Vrana, Class of 2011, for
their invaluable advice and assistance in shaping this Note.
1. See Reshma Kapadia & Russell Pearlman, Where to Invest in 2011, WALL ST. J.,
Dec. 28, 2010, http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704457604576011363287
(last visited Mar. 2, 2011)
(listing continuing global expansion as a reason to
substantial portion of Internet content,2 the international legal community is
facing new issues of the legality of Internet behavior. One of those issues is
assigning legal liability when copyright-infringing content appears on the
An example may best explain this problem. A YouTube subscriber
named Ayn R. is a fan of The Colbert Report on Comedy Central. In fact,
she is such a fan that her user name is "colbertroxmysox," and she uploads
digital recordings of the show onto her YouTube account. As she does not
have permission from Comedy Central or its parent company to do so, this
is a violation of copyright. These illegal copies sit on YouTube along with
others and get many hits from other Colbert fans. One or two users "flag"
them as inappropriate, but they remain on the site. Eventually, an employee
of Comedy Central finds the videos while searching for Comedy Central
content on YouTube. The company sends YouTube’s designated agent a
list of copyright-violating videos, including identifying information such as
the URLs of the offending content, among which are Ayn’s uploads of The
Colbert Report. YouTube removes the videos and sends Ayn an email
informing her that she has violated her user agreement with YouTube and if
she gains two more "strikes" her account will be terminated.3 Ayn creates a
new account under the name "ColbertrulesCCdrools" and resumes
uploading The Colbert Report.
The problem is deciding at what point, if ever, in this list of events
liability should attach to YouTube for Ayn’s action. This Note explores the
international legal landscape created by the variety of answers that courts in
different countries have provided when copyright holders have asked that
question. This Note also will argue that an international standard for
secondary liability would be both possible and beneficial.
The appearance of illegal copies of copyrighted material online is an
acknowledged problem, with industry trade organizations estimating that a
substantial amount of internet traffic involves pirated material, including as
invest in internet companies) (on file with the Washington and Lee Law Review).
2. See Paul Verna, A Spotlight on UGC Participants, EMARKETER.COM (Feb. 19,
(last visited Mar. 2, 2011)
(estimating the number of Americans who generate online content as 82.5 million) (on file
with the Washington and Lee Law Review).
3. See Viacom Int’l Inc. v. YouTube, Inc., 718 F. Supp. 2d 514, 527–28
(quoting YouTube’s policy as termination of a user’s account once that user receives
three "strikes" for uploading infringing content). Strikes are prompted by content holders
sending a takedown notice regarding the content to YouTube. Id.; see also infra note 66 and
accompanying text (pointing to the statutory provision that requires and details the
components of the takedown notice).
much as 95% of all downloaded music.4 Some commentators have
questioned whether media industries and the trade federations they control
inflate the numbers,5 but not the basic premise that illegal content is
common online.6 At the same time, user-generated content is becoming a
greater part of the Internet landscape.7 User-generated content is the
addition of creative and editorial content to online sites and resources by
people who have traditionally been considered "users."8 In other words, it
is the breakdown of the barrier between professional and amateur content.
The musings of Tumblr.com users, the crowd-sourced editing of the online
encyclopedia Wikipedia.com, and the videos uploaded to YouTube.com are
all examples of user-generated content.9
The growth of content processed outside the barriers of gatekeeper
media has not been without problems.10 Among those problems have been
4. See ENVISIONAL, TECHNICAL REPORT: AN ESTIMATION OF INFRINGING USE OF THE
INTERNET 2 (2011), available at
http://documents.envisional.com/docs/EnvisionalInternet_Usage-Jan2011.pdf (estimating that infringing activities compose 23.76% of all
Internet traffic); see also Eric Pfanner, Music Industry Counts the Cost of Piracy, N.Y.
TIMES (Jan. 21, 2010), http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/22/business/global/22music.html
(last visited Mar. 2, 2011)
(quoting figures regarding the amount of pirated music from the
International Federation of the Phonographic Industry) (on file with the Washington and Lee
6. See id. (cautioning readers to take the industry numbers "with a large grain of salt"
but not questioning the underlying idea that illegal downloading occurs).
7. See Daniel Gervais, The Tangled Web of UGC: Making Copyright Sense of User
Generated Content, 11 VAND. J. ENT. & TECH. L. 841, 845–46 (2009) ("Hundreds of millions
of Internet users are downloading, altering, mixing, uploading, and/or making available
audio, video, and text content on personal web pages, social sites, or using peer-to-peer
technology to allow others to access content on their computer.").
9. See id. ("User-generated content can be found on wikis, blogs, Twitter feeds,
YouTube, Facebook, and pirate websites, as well as in virtual worlds, reactions to news
stories, reactions to others’ reproductions of news stories, and ratings for products or ratings
for seller reputations—not to mention many more places yet to be described or
10. See, e.g., Lane Hartwell, Wikipedia, ECONOMIST (Jan. 13, 2011), http://www.
(last visited Mar. 2, 2011)
the accuracy issues that have plagued Wikipedia due to the crowd-sourced nature of its
editing) (on file with the Washington and Lee Law Review).
the increasing ease with which users can add copyrighted material and the
prevalence with which such additions have occurred.11 The disseminated
nature of the problem makes legal action more difficult as it is rarely of
economic practicality to go after individual users for the infringement.12
The economic difficulty of pursuing individuals for posting infringing
content has led to copyright holders seeking legal remedies from the
companies that provide the platform for posting content: Internet Service
Providers (ISPs).13 These efforts have primarily hinged on the concept of
secondary liability, a doctrine spawned from the tort concept of
masterservant relationships that would essentially hold the ISP liable for not
stopping the infringing use of its services by users.14 Secondary liability
divides into two types: (1) vicarious infringement and (2) contributory
infringement.15 Vicarious liability generally attaches to defendants when
they: (1) possess the right and ability to supervise the infringing conduct of
the direct infringer and (2) have a direct financial interest in the exploitation
of the copyrighted materials.16 The related contributory infringement
attaches when defendants: (1) have knowledge of the infringing activity or
(2) induce, cause, or materially contribute to the infringing conduct of
11. See Alan Braverman & Terri Southwick, The User-Generated Content Principles:
The Motivation, Process, Results and Lessons Learned, 32 COLUM. J.L. & ARTS 471, 471
(2009) ("The threat [to copyright owners] is that a good percentage of the most
heavilyviewed user-posted content is infringing.").
12. See Dawn Osbourne, User Generated Content (UGC): Trademark and Copyright
Infringement Issues, 3 J. INTELL. PROP. L. & PRAC. 555, 555 (2008) (noting that most users
are not worth pursuing for infringement and such pursuit can create bad publicity for
13. See MELLVILLE B. NIMMER, Liability of Online Service Providers, 3-12B NIMMER
ON COPYRIGHT § 12B.01 (2010) (pointing out that content owners like the ability to pursue
liability against ISPs because they tend to have "deep[er] pocket[s]" than individual users
and "the primary actor may often be unknown or not meaningfully amenable to suit").
14. Id. § 12.04 (describing how a series of cases have imposed secondary liability
under the Copyright Act despite the act itself not making the doctrine explicit); see also
Sony Corp. of America v. Universal City Studios, Inc., 464 U.S. 417, 428 (1984) (discussing
damages in the context of the "nonstatutory tort of contributory infringement").
15. See NIMMER, supra note 13, at § 12B.01 (describing the concept of the two types
of secondary liability).
16. See MGM v. Grokster, 545 U.S. 913, 930 n.9 (2005) ("In the present case MGM
has argued a vicarious liability theory, which allows imposition of liability when the
defendant profits directly from the infringement and has a right and ability to supervise the
direct infringer, even if the defendant initially lacks knowledge of the infringement.").
17. See id. at 927 ("[D]istribution of a commercial product capable of substantial
noninfringing uses [can] not give rise to contributory liability for infringement unless the
distributor had actual knowledge of specific instances of infringement and failed to act on
How and when to assign secondary liability is problematic given the
extent to which websites that rely heavily on user-generated content have
expanded beyond U.S. borders.18 Involvement in the international market
has resulted in uncertainty regarding the international application of the
secondary liability principle for companies serving multiple countries.
Although an American court ruled in 2010 that YouTube does not have
liability for copyright infringing videos that users upload to the site,19 the
issue has split European courts,20 including a German court that ruled
YouTube would face secondary liability in a substantially similar case.21
This Note evaluates the current state of international law on secondary
liability, using lawsuits against the American-based company YouTube as a
lens. YouTube is a helpful lens because of both the number of recent cases
filed against it and its business model. YouTube operates as a conduit for
user-generated content, making it particularly helpful for exploring issues
of secondary liability. Part II briefly explains the current state of
international law in this area. Part III explains the United States’ choice to
interpret and expand beyond the current international copyright
requirements when passing the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and how
that resulted in the American court’s treatment of YouTube. Part IV
explores how the European Union and various Member States have
that knowledge."); id. at 935–36 (rejecting the plaintiffs’ contention that they could escape
contributory liability because their product had "substantial non-infringing uses" because
they were also inducing and encouraging subscribers to use it in ways that violated
18. See, e.g., Facebook, Statistics: Global Reach, FACEBOOK.COM, http://www.
(last visited Mar. 2, 2011)
("About 70% of Facebook
users are outside the United States . . . .") (on file with the Washington and Lee Law
Review); Wikipedia, Wikipedia: About, WIKEPEDIA.COM, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wiki
(last visited Mar. 2, 2011)
("Every day, hundreds of thousands of visitors from
around the world collectively make tens of thousands of edits and create thousands of new
articles to augment the knowledge held by the Wikipedia encyclopedia.") (on file with the
Washington and Lee Law Review); YouTube, YouTube Statistics, YOUTUBE.COM,
(last visited Mar. 2, 2011)
("YouTube is localized
in 25 countries across 43 languages.") (on file with the Washington and Lee Law Review).
19. See Viacom Int’l Inc. v. YouTube, Inc., 718 F. Supp. 2d 514, 529
(ruling that YouTube was not liable for content posted by users in violation of copyright as
long as YouTube complied with the required DMCA takedown provisions), appeal
docketed, No. 10-3270
(2d Cir. Aug. 11, 2010)
. See infra Part III.B for an extended
discussion of the case.
20. See infra Part IV.B for an extended discussion of the European cases and
21. See LG Hamburg 8. Zivilkammer, 308 O 27/09 (2010) (ruling the YouTube was
liable for the infringing content users posted on its site); see also infra Part III.B.3 for an
extended discussion of the case.
addressed secondary liability within the confines of international law and
the resulting variety of rulings across those Member States. Finally, Part V
presents a plan for how the international community can foster greater
certainty for international businesses by clarifying the requirements for
secondary liability of ISPs.
II. International Copyright Law and the WIPO
International intellectual property standards are governed by
multilateral treaties,22 the most wide-reaching of which are the Berne
Convention and the Paris Convention.23 The World Intellectual Property
Organization (WIPO) grew out of a need to have an administrator of these
essential international intellectual property treaties.24 The WIPO’s
antecedents trace back to the Bureaux Intenationaux réunis pour la
protection de la proprété intellectuelle (BIRPI), established under the
supervision of the Swiss shortly after the two conventions took effect.25
The Stockholm Conference of 1967 established the WIPO as a formally
independent international organization, and it became a specialized agency
of the United Nations in 1970.26 The WIPO has 184 member states,
including the world’s major economic players.27
The WIPO’s stated purpose is "developing a balanced and accessible
international intellectual property (IP) system, which rewards creativity,
stimulates innovation and contributes to economic development while
safeguarding the public interest."28 The organization primarily functions as
"the chosen forum for negotiating further extensions to the global
governance regime for intellectual property."29 In recent years the World
Trade Organization has taken over most direct enforcement of international,
multilateral treaties regarding copyright under the Trade Related Aspects of
Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) agreement.30 The WIPO and WTO
agreed to work in collaboration with the WIPO providing technical
assistance to the WTO.31 In addition to that work, the WIPO plays an
active role in providing models for national law.32 The WIPO provides
assistance to developing countries in creating intellectual property systems
and helps countries modernize existing legal infrastructure.33
In the 1980s it became clear that the growth in new technology would
require corresponding change in international copyright agreements.34
Discussion of possible updates to the Berne Convention began when the
WIPO Governing Bodies convened a committee to investigate the
possibility in 1989.35 The negotiation and drafting of the treaty took seven
years and included the participation of representatives and experts from the
member states.36 The differing interests of the member states, in particular
the difference in positions between developing and industrialized countries,
created difficulties in finishing the treaties at the Diplomatic Conference to
finalize them in 1996.37
In 1996, the WIPO ultimately adopted the two treaties intended to
address problems arising with the growth of the Internet:38 the WIPO
Copyright Treaty (WCT)39 and the WIPO Performers and Phonographs
Treaty (WPPT).40 Both treaties contain specific provisions protecting
copyright owners’ right to control "communication to the public."41
Scholars generally interpret these provisions as protecting control over
distribution via the Internet.42 Both treaties are also clear that member
states should honor copyright holders’ use of digital protection technology,
particularly mentioning digital forms of broadcasting. Article 12 of the
WIPO Copyright Treaty requires that the parties "provide adequate and
effective legal remedies against any person knowingly performing any of
the following acts knowing, or with respect to civil remedies having
reasonable grounds to know, that it will induce, enable, facilitate or conceal
an infringement of any right covered by this Treaty or the Berne
Convention . . . ."43 A substantially similar provision appears in the
WPPT.44 Domestic law still controls the effect these treaties have on the
38. See Graeme B. Dinwoodie, A New Copyright Order: Why National Courts Should
Create Global Norms, 149 U. PA. L. REV. 469, 498 (2000) ("Those treaties—the WIPO
Copyright Treaty and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty—were an attempt to
develop copyright law prospectively for the digital age . . . .").
As used in this Article, ‘rights management information’ means information
which identifies the work, the author of the work, the owner of any right in the
work, or information about the terms and conditions of use of the work, and any
numbers or codes that represent such information, when any of these items of
information is attached to a copy of a work or appears in connection with the
communication of a work to the public.
practical enforcement of copyrights.45 This is important to remember when
considering how the treaties impact law. Member states must implement
WIPO treaties for them to take effect.46
Likely because of the difficulty and necessity of gaining consensus
among parties when negotiating treaties, both the WCT and WPPT contain
a high level of flexibility and thus can create uncertainty in terms of how
member states choose to protect the rights they encompass.47 Some issues
raised by the emergence of the digital environment could not gain the
consensus needed in the negotiation of the WCT and the WPPT to make it
into the finalized treaties or had not yet risen to the level of international
recognition necessary for the drafters to consider them.48 Among the issues
not covered was secondary liability for ISPs, leading to varying
international legal approaches.49 This level of uncertainty in the
determination of liability has created problems for Web 2.050 companies
whose Internet presence crosses international borders.51
replacing references to work/author/owner
performance/performer/producer as needed).
45. See DINWOODIE ET AL., supra note 22, at 559 (noting that individual countries
make the final decision about how they implement the treaties).
See id. at 562–63 (discussing the implementation issues of the WIPO treaties).
47. See id. at 559 (pointing out the inherent flexibility provided to individual countries
to create laws "appropriate to their particular circumstances").
48. See LEWINSKI, supra note 24, at 482–86 (detailing the discussed provisions that
did not make it into the finalized treaties). These provisions included two requiring changes
to the licensing structures of mechanical recordings and for broadcasting. Id. at 483. A
proposal for defining "rental" with respect to neighboring rights was also rejected. Id. at
484. The delegation chose not to add online publication to the Berne Convention’s
protections. Id. Finally sui generis protection of databases never made it into the treaty
because of time constraints on the negotiations. Id. at 486.
49. See DINWOODIE ET AL., supra note 22, at 562–63 (comparing the approaches of the
United States and Australia).
50. Scholar Tim O’Reilly first described Web 2.0 as a conceptual model for seeing
certain Internet applications as integration-based and interaction-based rather than
platformbased and experience-based. See Tim O’Reilly, What is Web 2.0?, OREILLY.COM, (Sept. 30,
(last visited Mar. 2, 2011)
(using graphs and examples to explain the concept of Web 2.0) (on file with the Washington
and Lee Law Review). Web 2.0 companies, therefore, often allow significant opportunities
for user-generated content. Id.
51. See id. ("Differing approaches to ISP liability can generate uncertainties [as to the
applicable secondary liability principles].").
III. Specificity in Secondary Liability Legislation and Results
In the United States, Congress chose to enact comprehensive
legislation to update American copyright law for the new digital age.52 This
legislation went beyond the provisions required to fulfill its obligations
under the WIPO treaties to include law regarding the extent of secondary
liability for ISPs.53 In applying these statutes, U.S. courts have concluded
that ISPs will not face secondary liability under U.S. law providing the ISPs
comply with the statutory procedures for removing infringing content from
A. Implementation in the United States: The DMCA and Its Application
The U.S. Congress implemented the WIPO treaties in the United
States as part of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).55 Though
the treaties provided the impetus for the statute, the DMCA also contained
provisions beyond those needed for implementation56 and updated the
Copyright Act of 1976 to handle the new challenges of computer
technology.57 Many consider the DMCA one of the stricter implementation
structures of the treaty requirements.58 This is perhaps not surprising given
that U.S. representatives pushed for treaties that would grant more
protection to copyright owners.59 However, when passing the DMCA,
52. See infra notes 55–60 and accompanying text (describing the DMCA’s provisions
Infra note 58 and accompanying text.
54. See infra notes 76–82 and accompanying text (explaining the district court’s
decision in Io Group v. Veoh); infra notes 83–118 and accompanying text (explaining the
district court’s decision in Viacom v. YouTube).
56. See CRAIG NARN ET AL., THE LAW OF INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY 516–17 (2006)
(describing the general purposes of the DMCA).
58. See, e.g., CHRISTOPHER MAY, DIGITAL RIGHTS MANAGEMENT: THE PROBLEM OF
EXPANDING OWNERSHIP RIGHTS 50 (2007) (noting that "the protections enshrined in US
legislation go beyond even those measures actually required by their multilateral treaty
59. See Bill Herman & Oscar Gandy, Jr., Catch 1201: A Legislative History and
Content Analysis of the DMCA Exemption Proceedings, 24 CARDOZO ARTS & ENT. L.J. 121,
130–31 (2005) (describing the efforts of Patent Commissioner Bruce Lehman to convince
the international community to create a version of the WCT and WPPT treaties that more
Congress indicated that it did not want the effort to protect copyright
owners to go so far that it might chill Internet expansion and improvement
In keeping with the desire to protect innovation, the DMCA offers a
"safe harbor" provision that protects websites and web providers from
secondary liability for copyright violations performed by subscribers on
their network.61 In order to qualify for this protection, a company must
meet the statutory definition of a service provider, defined as "an entity
offering the transmission, routing, or providing of connections for digital
online communications, between or among points specified by a user, of
material of the user’s choosing, without modification to the content of the
material as sent or received."62 Though the question of interpreting this part
of the statute has yet to reach the Supreme Court, a variety of lower courts
have been consistent in interpreting it broadly beyond the conventional,
colloquial definition of service provider—a company that provides access
to the Internet.63 The safe harbor also requires that: (1) the qualified
service provider not have "actual knowledge" of the infringing material,64
(2) the service provider not get a direct financial benefit from having the
infringing material on its website,65 and (3) the service provider comply
with any takedown notices provided by the content owners and do so in
expeditious manner.66 If the service provider fails to meet any one of these
requirements, it forfeits the protections of the safe harbor.67
Congress did not intend for this protection to cover providers who
intentionally allowed infringing content and indicated that a "red flag test"
would be applied—infringing activity that would be apparent to a
"reasonable person" could cause a service provider to lose the protections of
the statute.68 This test is harder to meet than might initially be apparent, as
Congress clarified that communication of copyright violations to the service
provider by the copyright holder would not terminate the safe harbor unless
the format of the notification complied with the statute.69 In addition,
Congress specified that courts should not apply the red flag test in a way
that would "create a disincentive to the development of directories which
involve human intervention."70
The attitude exemplified by the DMCA provisions was in keeping with
larger philosophies of infringement liability, such as the Supreme Court
holding in Metro-Goldwyn Mayer Studios, Inc. v. Grokster, Ltd.,71 that "one
who distributes a device with the object of promoting its use to infringe
copyright, as shown by clear expression or other affirmative steps taken to
foster infringement, is liable for the resulting acts of infringement by third
parties."72 The companies in Grokster had attempted to avoid liability by
arguing that the software programs in question had substantial
noninfringing uses.73 The Court found the argument unconvincing and
concluded that passing one test regarding secondary liability did not
preclude liability under other evidence, in this case intent to cause
infringing use.74 The case is instructive in that it establishes that the
68. See Senate Report, supra note 60, at 44 ("[I]f the service provider becomes aware
of a ‘red flag’ from which infringing activity is apparent, it will lose the limitation of
liability if it takes no action."); see also The House Committee on Commerce Report, H.R.
REP. NO. 105-551, at 53 (1998) [hereinafter House Report] (listing an identical quotation).
69. See id. at 54 ("[N]either actual knowledge nor awareness of a red flag may be
imputed to a service provider based on information from a copyright owner or its agent that
does not comply with the notification provisions of subsection (c)(3), [and] . . . the
limitation of liability set forth in subsection (c) may still apply.").
70. Id. at 58.
71. See MGM Studios, Inc. v. Grokster, Ltd., 545 U.S. 913, 919 (2005) (holding that
the defendants were liable for Grokster users illegally sharing files using the Grokster
software because the defendants had created the software with that purpose in mind and
actively encouraged that type of activity on the part of the users).
73. See id. at 933 (noting the company’s argument that the Court should decide the
case based on the doctrine that it had established in Sony Corp. of America v. Universal City
Studios, Inc.); see also Sony Corp. of Am. v. Universal Studios, Inc., 464 U.S. 417, 425
(1984) (concluding that because the device was capable of "substantial non-infringing use"
Sony would not be liable for customers using it to infringe copyright).
74. See MGM, 545 U.S. at 934 ("This view of Sony, however, was error, converting
Supreme Court is willing to apply liability where companies intend for
infringement to occur and encourage such infringement. As Part III.B
demonstrates, Viacom attempted to use this theory of liability to work
around the protections afforded YouTube by the DMCA safe harbor
provision but was ultimately unsuccessful.75
One of the first tests of the safe harbor provision came in the case Io
Group, Inc. v. Veoh Networks, Inc.76 Though this district court case is not
cited in Viacom v. YouTube, there are parallels in the reasoning behind
applying the safe harbor provision of the DMCA in both cases. Io Group
sued Veoh when it discovered user-uploaded clips from its adult films on
Veoh’s website.77 The uploading of the clips violated Veoh’s Terms of
Use,78 and Io Group did not notify Veoh of the infringing videos.79 The
court concluded that Veoh qualified for protection from damages liability
under the DMCA safe harbor provision and that the injunctive relief the
plaintiffs could still seek was moot because Veoh had already taken down
the clips as part of its decision not to allow pornography on its site.80 In
rejecting the plaintiff’s argument for vicarious liability, the court noted that
"the plain language of section 512(c) indicates that the pertinent inquiry is
not whether Veoh has the right and ability to control its system, but rather,
whether it has the right and ability to control the infringing activity."81 Like
the Viacom court, the Veoh court roundly rejected an interpretation of the
DMCA that would require the service provider to change its business
the case from one about liability resting on imputed intent to one about liability on any
theory. . . . Sony did not displace other theories of secondary liability.").
75. See infra note 116 and accompanying text (determining that there was insufficient
evidence that YouTube encouraged infringing activity to hold the company liable).
76. See Io Group, Inc. v. Veoh Networks, Inc., 586 F. Supp. 2d 1132, 1154 (N.D. Cal.
2008) (concluding that the plaintiff had not "raised a genuine issue of material fact that Veoh
had the right and ability to control the alleged infringing activity on Veoh.com").
77. See id. at 1136–37 (describing the origins of the lawsuit).
78. See id. at 1137 ("[Y]ou may not publish or make available any User Material that
constitutes an infringement of third party intellectual property rights, including rights
granted by U.S. copyright law, or that otherwise violates the Acceptable Use Policy.")
79. See id. at 1137 ("When it discovered the presence of the allegedly infringing files,
Io did not tell Veoh that it believed its copyrights were being violated.").
80. See id. at 1141 ("[T]his court concludes that Veoh is eligible for safe harbor
protection from damages and, further, that the limited injunctive relief provided under the
DMCA is moot.").
81. Id. at 1151.
structure in order to hunt down independently any and all infringing videos
that might appear on its website.82
B. Liability in Viacom International Inc. v. YouTube, Inc.
In 2010, the Southern District of New York filed a decision in Viacom
International Inc. v. YouTube, Inc., granting summary judgment to
YouTube.83 The dispute arose from the presence of content owned by
Viacom and its subsidiaries on YouTube.84 As the court noted in the
opinion, YouTube has a designated agent in charge of receiving and
responding to copyright violation notices, and YouTube takes down clips
for which the site receives DMCA takedown notices.85 Likely because of
YouTube’s practice of complying with takedown notices as instructed in
the DMCA,86 Viacom chose to challenge YouTube’s compliance with other
requirements of the DMCA’s safe harbor provision, arguing that YouTube
promoted and encouraged infringing use of its services87 and that YouTube
had actual knowledge of the infringing use and did not respond in an
The court was unconvinced and in ruling on the defendants’ motion
for summary judgment stated the issue:
82. See id. (rejecting the plaintiff’s "not-so-subtle suggestion that, if Veoh cannot
prevent infringement from ever occurring, then it should not be allowed to exist").
83. See Viacom Int’l Inc. v. YouTube, Inc., 718 F. Supp. 2d 514, 529
, appeal docketed, No. 10-3270
(2d Cir. Aug. 11, 2010)
(ruling that YouTube was not
liable for content posted by users in violation of copyright as long as YouTube complied
with the required DMCA takedown provisions).
85. See Viacom, 718 F. Supp. 2d at 519 ("However, defendants designated an agent,
and when they received specific notices that a particular item infringed a copyright, they
swiftly removed it. It is uncontroverted that all the clips in suit are off the YouTube website,
most having been removed in response to DMCA takedown notices.").
86. See supra note 66 and accompanying text (describing service providers’
responsibility to comply with takedown notices sent by content owners).
87. See Complaint, supra note 84, at 3 ("Defendants actively engage in, promote and
induce this infringement.").
88. See id. at 3–4 (arguing that YouTube knew that there was widespread infringement
on its site and both chose not to take "reasonable precautions" and purposely made it
difficult for content owners to locate infringing material); see also supra note 64 and
accompanying text (noting that actual knowledge of infringing material can remove a service
provider from the protection of the safe harbor provision).
Thus the critical question is whether the statutory phrases "actual
knowledge that the material or an activity using the material on the
system or network is infringing," and "facts or circumstances from
which infringing activity is apparent" in § 512(c)(1)(A)(i) and (ii) mean
a general awareness that there are infringements (here, claimed to be
widespread and common), or rather mean actual or constructive
knowledge of specific and identifiable infringements of individual
In the opinion, the court placed great emphasis on the legislative intent
behind the language of § 512.90 It began with a discussion of legislative
history, quoting the intent of the legislators that "by limiting the liability of
service providers, the DMCA ensures that the efficiency of the Internet will
continue to improve and that the variety and quality of services on the
Internet will continue to expand."91 The court pointed out—with
accompanying quotations—the "almost identical language" used by both
reports to "describe the DMCA’s purpose and structure . . . ."92 The opinion
also pointed to descriptions of the safe harbors as not intended to designate
the activity as non-infringing but rather to limit the liability for that activity
In the reports, the legislators specified that actual knowledge is not
necessarily confined to notification from content owners.94 They also
suggested that knowledge that infringing material exists on the system or
network does not constitute actual knowledge.95 The court interpreted the
89. Viacom Int’l Inc. v. YouTube, Inc., 718 F. Supp. 2d 514, 519
90. See id. at 519–24 (quoting extensively from the discussion of the proposed law in
the Senate Committee on the Judiciary Report and the House Committee on Commerce
91. Id. at 519 (quoting the Senate Report, supra note 60, at 8).
92. Id. at 520.
93. See id. ("As provided in subsection (k), section 512 is not intended to imply that a
service provider is or is not liable as an infringer either for conduct that qualifies for a
limitation of liability or for conduct that fails to so qualify." (quoting Senate Report, supra
note 60, and House Report, supra note 68)). "Rather the limitations of liability apply if the
provider is found to be liable under existing principles of law." Id. (quoting Senate Report,
supra note 60, and House Report, supra note 68).
94. See id. ("A service provider wishing to benefit from the limitation on
liability . . . must ‘take down’ or disable access to infringing material . . . of which it has
actual knowledge or that meets the ‘red flag’ test, even if the copyright owner or its agent
does not notify it of a claimed infringement." (quoting Senate Report, supra note 60, at 45)).
95. See id. at 521 ("[The law] requires that the copyright owner or its authorized agent
provide the service provider with information reasonably sufficient to permit the service
provider to identify and locate the allegedly infringing material.").
available judicial history as indicating that the use of the phrase "actual
knowledge" in § 512 "describe[s] knowledge of specific and identifiable
infringement of particular individual items. Mere knowledge . . . is not
enough."96 In the court’s view, to impose responsibility on providers "to
discover which of their users’ postings infringe a copyright would
contravene the structure and operation of the DMCA."97 This idea holds
true even when the provider may know that such infringement is
prevalent.98 The court interpreted the DMCA placing the burden of
policing content on copyright owners as logical given that the service
platforms in question contain both infringing and non-infringing works and
submission methods can make it difficult to determine which is which.99
Simply put, the DMCA does not require affirmative action by the service
This interpretation is consistent with prior judicial authority. In a case
before the Ninth Circuit involving a service provider hosting websites
whose names indicated their infringing content, that court announced, "We
impose no . . . investigative duties on service providers."101 In deciding a
similar case, a California District Court interpreted the Ninth Circuit’s
decision as an indication that "facts and circumstances" are not red flags if
they would require investigation in order to determine whether
infringement is present.102 The court noted that this decision captured "the
reason why awareness of pervasive copyright-infringing, however flagrant
and blatant, does not impose liability on the service provider" to whit
because it "furnishes at most a statistical estimate of the chance any
particular posting is infringing . . . ."103
96. Id. at 523.
97. Id. (emphasis added).
99. See id. at 524 ("[T]he infringing works . . . may be a small fraction of millions of
works posted by others on the service’s platform, whose provider cannot by inspection
determine whether the use has been licensed by the owner, or whether its posting is a ‘fair
use’ of the material . . . .").
100. See id. (describing the DMCA’s choice not to require affirmative action as
101. Perfect 10, Inc. v. CCBill LLC, 488 F.3d 1102, 1114 (9th Cir. 2007).
102. See UMG Recordings, Inc. v. Veoh Networks, Inc., 665 F. Supp. 2d 1099, 1108
(C.D. Cal. 2009) ("CCBill teaches that if investigation of ‘facts and circumstances’ is
required to identify material as infringing, then those facts and circumstances are not ‘red
103. Viacom Int’l Inc. v. YouTube, Inc., 718 F. Supp. 2d 514, 524
In another case that pre-dates the Ninth Circuit’s decision, a
Washington District Court reached a somewhat similar interpretation in
Corbis Corp. v. Amazon.com, Inc.104 When confronted with the question of
Amazon’s liability for vendors selling trademark infringing merchandise on
their site, the court identified the issue as one of Amazon’s specific
knowledge of the activity of the vendors rather than a "general awareness
that a particular type of item may be easily infringed."105 In Viacom, the
court pointed particularly to the fact that evidence that red flags may have
existed in general did not create liability for Amazon because the plaintiffs
did not prove that Amazon chose to ignore the red flags of infringement
regarding specific vendors.106
As the court pointed out, this attitude has deep roots in copyright and
trademark law.107 The Second Circuit followed similar reasoning in the
trademark infringement case Tiffany, Inc. v. eBay, Inc.108 Though a lower
court found merit in Tiffany’s allegation that eBay had generalized notice
of the possibility that some of the "Tiffany goods" sold by eBay vendors
were counterfeit,109 the Second Circuit decided that such generalized notice
was insufficient for attachment of contributory trademark infringement,110
especially given the significant proportion of the goods for sale that were
authentic Tiffany merchandise.111 Though the trademark claims of that case
would not be covered by the DMCA, the Viacom court asserted that they
106. See Viacom, 718 F. Supp. 2d at 524 ("Other evidence of ‘red flags’ was
unavailing, for it ‘provides no evidence from which to infer that Amazon was aware of, but
chose to ignore, red flags of blatant copyright infringement on specific zShops sites.’"
(quoting Corbis Corp. v. Amazon.com, Inc., 352 F. Supp. 2d 1090, 1108 (W.D. Wash.
107. See id. at 523–25 (discussing cases outside the purveyance of the DMCA that have
reached similar conclusions regarding when a provider has actual knowledge of
108. See Tiffany, Inc. v. eBay, Inc., 600 F.3d 93, 107, 109
(2d Cir. 2010)
, cert. denied
131 S. Ct. 647 (2010) (holding that generalized knowledge such as the appearance of search
results for the term "Tiffany" was not sufficient to establish contributory liability for
trademark infringement on the part of eBay).
109. See id. at 106 (responding to Tiffany alleging that eBay knew or had reason to
know that counterfeits were sold ubiquitously on the site).
110. Id. at 107. Contributory liability is generally narrower under trademark
infringement law than it is under copyright infringement law.
111. See id. at 97–98 (estimating that up to 75% of the merchandise listed under
"Tiffany" might be counterfeit but a "substantial number" were authentic).
shared a common underlying principle with the YouTube claims: "General
knowledge that infringement is ‘ubiquitous’ does not impose a duty on the
service provider to monitor or search its service for infringements."112
In his final discussion of applicable case law, the Viacom court
differentiated the YouTube case from the Grokster line of cases.113 In those
cases, the DMCA offered no protection to the defendants because they had
actively encouraged copyright infringement on their networks and/or
provided services for that purpose.114 Though Viacom argued that this line
of reasoning should be applied to YouTube,115 the court was unconvinced
and concluded that the absence of evidence that YouTube actively
encouraged infringement combined with their prompt removal of material
when notified protected the company from liability.116
Viacom has appealed the ruling to the Second Circuit Court of
Appeals.117 If that court follows the district court’s reasoning, it seems
clear that the standard for "actual knowledge" in applying the DMCA safe
harbor provision will be a high one, requiring specific knowledge of
individual infringing activity. Given the Second Circuit’s decision in the
Tiffany case as well as the prevailing position in American law that the
holder of the right has the responsibility of policing for infringement, it is
likely that the court will uphold the district court’s decision.118
IV. Open-Ended Secondary Liability Legislation and Results
The European Union took a different approach to secondary liability
and addressed it in a directi
ve to Member States in 2001
.119 The directive
lacked the procedural structures of the DMCA120 and required
implementation by Member States to take effect.121 The applications of the
resulting Member State legislation have led to conflicting results in the EU
A. The European Union’s Approach to ISP Liability
Under its power of internal market regulation, the European Union
undertook a series of directives in order to bring copyright law in its
Member States into compliance with the WIPO Treaties as well as provide
needed harmonization of such laws.123 Directive 2000/31/EC, frequently
called the E-Commerce Directive, directly addresses ISP liability.124
The E-Commerce Directive grants liability exemptions to passive
service providers125 providing they do not "collaborate" with a user or users
119. See infra notes 123–33 and accompanying text (explaining the directive and its
effects on Member State law).
120. See infra note 130 and accompanying text (comparing the provisions of the
DMCA and the E-Commerce Directive).
121. See infra note 131 and accompanying text (explaining that EU directives are not
directly effective and require implementation by Member States).
122. See infra Part IV.B (detailing the Member State legislation and resulting court
123. See J.A.L. STERLING, WORLD COPYRIGHT LAW 761–62 (2d ed. 2003) (describing
the source of the EU’s power of regulation and its stated purpose of harmonizing the law on
particular aspects of copyright and related rights (as well as other areas of intellectual
property) throughout the Community); see also Directi
/29/EC, art. 2, 2001 O.J. (L
176) (EC), available at http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriSer
:167:0010:0019:EN:PDF ("The European Council, meeting at Corfu on 24 and 25
June 1994, stressed the need to create a general and flexible legal framework at Community
level in order to foster the development of the information society in Europe.").
124. See Directive 2000/31/EC, arts. 40–58, 2000 O.J. (L 178) 1 (EC) [hereinafter
ECommerce Directive], available at http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?
uri=OJ:L: 2000:178:0001:0016:EN:PDF (establishing and describing the harmonization
goals regarding ISP liability and the responsibilities of the Member States thereof).
125. See id. art. 42 ("The exemptions from liability established in this Directive cover
only cases where the activity of the information society service provider is limited . . . [to the
cases in which it] has neither knowledge of nor control over the information which is
transmitted or stored.").
to undertake illegal acts.126 ISPs must also act "expeditiously to remove or
to disable access" to any illegal information on "obtaining actual knowledge
or awareness of illegal activities."127 While the directive does prevent
Member States from requiring ISPs to monitor their services for illegal
activity,128 it specifically allows Member States to impose "duties of care,
which can reasonably be expected from [ISPs] and which are specified by
national law, in order to detect and prevent certain types of illegal
activities."129 In many ways, the E-Commerce Directive parallels the
DMCA, though its provisions are generally less detailed and explicit.130
The difference in specificity becomes exaggerated when one considers
how the European Union Member States implement directives. In the
European Union, "directives are binding as to the effect to be achieved but
[leave] the choice as to form and method to the Member States."131 On a
practical level, this means Member States may adopt the directive
wholesale, adopt laws that achieve the effect desired, or not adopt it at all,
arguing that national laws already achieve the desired effect.132 As a result,
YouTube commonly argues that EU law offers the same type of "safe
harbor" liability exemptions for ISPs as the DMCA when litigating
copyright infringement claims in European courts, with varying results.133
126. See id. art. 44 ("A service provider who deliberately collaborates with one of the
recipients of his service in order to undertake illegal acts goes beyond the activities of ‘mere
conduit’ or ‘caching’ and as a result cannot benefit from the liability exemptions established
for these activities.").
127. Id. art. 46.
128. See id. art. 47 ("Member States are prevented from imposing a monitoring
obligation on service providers . . . with respect to obligations of a general nature . . . .").
129. Id. art. 48.
130. Compare id. art. 46 (requiring that ISPs remove discovered illegal content
"expeditiously"), with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. § 512 (c)(1)(C)
(2008) (requiring ISPs to remove illegal content when provided with a takedown notice by
the content owner that complies with the conditions laid out in the DMCA).
131. MARGOT HORSPOOL & MATTHEW HUMPHREYS, EUROPEAN UNION LAW 114 (6th ed.
2010); see also Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, art. 288, 2008 O.J. (C
115) 47 ("A directive shall be binding, as to the result to be achieved, upon each Member
State to which it is addressed, but shall leave to the national authorities the choice of form
132. See HORSPOOL & HUMPHREYS, supra note 131, at 114 (explaining the various
approaches that Member States may permissibly take regarding an EU directive).
133. See Eric Pfanner, YouTube Can’t Be Liable on Copyright, Spain Says, N.Y. TIMES
(Sept. 23, 2010)
(last visited Mar. 2, 2011)
("While lawyers say the European protections for hosts
are generally similar to America’s ‘safe harbor’ provisions in the Digital Millennium
Copyright Act, which reduces a host’s liability, European courts have offered a range of
interpretations.") (on file with the Washington and Lee Law Review).
B. Secondary Liability Law: National Interpretations and Applications in
Four EU Member States
Four cases considering YouTube’s liability for user copyright
infringement that parallel Viacom International Inc. v. YouTube, Inc. have
been litigated in France, Spain, Germany, and Italy. All four countries are
members of the European Union and thus subject to the E-Commerce
Directive.134 Yet the cases have resulted in widely different decisions.
YouTube won in Spain, but the company is still litigating in France.135
YouTube lost in Germany and Italy, though possibly for very different
France implemented the E-Commerce Directive with the passage of
the Law on Copyright and Related Rights in the Information Society on
August 1, 2006.137 The legislation closely parallels the E-Commerce
Directive in many ways.138 It specifies that ISPs do not have an obligation
to monitor for illegal content, except in cases where judges mandate
measures designed to combat incitement to violations of human dignity
such as child pornography.139 French law also includes
134. EUROPA, The Member Countries of the European Union, http://europa.eu/abc/
(last visited Mar. 2, 2011)
(on file with the
Washington and Lee Law Review).
135. See infra notes 137–51 and accompanying text (explaining the results in the
French and Spanish cases).
136. See infra notes 152–68 and accompanying text (explaining the results in the
German and Italian cases and discussing possible explanations for the results).
137. Loi 2006-961 du 1 août 2006 relative au droit d’auteur et aux droits voisins dans la
société de l’information, JOURNAL OFFICIEL DE LA RÉPUBLIQUE FRANCAISE [J.O.], Aug. 3, 2006,
No. 178. See generally Thibault Verbiest, Study on the Liability of Internet Intermediaries,
EUROPEAN UNION COUNTRY REPORT—FRANCE (2007
), available at http://ec.europa.eu/
how France chose to implement the E-Commerce Directive).
138. See Verbiest, supra note 137, at 2–3 (explaining the extent to which the French
Legislation tracked the E-Commerce Directive).
139. See id. ("Article 6-I-7 of the LCEN does not require of access providers or service
providers a general obligation to monitor the information transmitted on their networks nor a
general obligation to search out instances of illegal activity.").
140. See id. at 9 (quoting the legal requirement that a takedown notice include the date
of notification, identity and contact information of the complaining party, a description of
In 2008, a music publishing company, SPPF, filed a copyright
infringement lawsuit against YouTube that did not go to final judgment
because YouTube pulled all SPPF material from its site.141 In 2009, SPPF
filed a second lawsuit, alleging that its material was once again appearing
on YouTube without authorization.142 It has yet to be decided.143 Though
YouTube is still facing litigation in France, other companies have chosen to
contract with YouTube to license their content to the company.144 There is
some indication that France is taking an approach to secondary liability for
ISPs that offers ISPs more protection: The Court of Appeals of Paris
recently overturned a judgment holding that Google had some
responsibility for the caching of search results that contained illegal
Spain implemented the E-Commerce Directive in 2002 as part of the
Law on Information Society Services and Electronic Commerce.146 The
Spanish implementation of the law does provide a "safe harbor" for ISPs,
but only to the extent that an ISP does not have "actual knowledge" of
the offending content, and the basis of the complaining party’s rights to the material).
141. See John Hopewell, French Labels Sue YouTube, VARIETY.COM (June 17, 2009),
visited Mar. 2, 2011)
("SPPF alleges that YouTube is again hosting more than 100 [music
videos] made by its members, which YouTube removed from its site after SPPF took legal
action against it in 2008.") (on file with the Washington and Lee Law Review).
142. See id. ("Gaul’s Societe Civile des Producteurs de Phonogrammes en France
(SPPF) lodged the suit with Paris superior court Tribunal de Grand Instance, which handles
civil offenses . . . .").
144. See Kevin J. O’Brien, Germany Is the Last Holdout in YouTube’s European Music
Quest, N.Y. TIMES (Oct. 17, 2010), http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/18/technology/18euro
(last visited Mar. 2, 2011)
("Sacem, the powerful French music
copyright group, signed an agreement with Google that allowed YouTube to air French
music videos on its site in France through 2012.") (on file with the Washington and Lee Law
145. SAIF v. Google, Cour d’appel [CA] [regional court of appeal] Paris, 1e ch., Jan.
26, 2011 (Fr.), available at http://www.juriscom.net/jpt/visu.php?ID=1285.
146. Ley 34/2002, de 11 de Julio, de servicios de la sociedad de la información y de
comercio electrónico (B.O.E. 166, 12 July 2002, p. 25388). See generally Aurélie Van der
Perre, Study on the Liability of Internet Intermediaries, EUROPEAN UNION COUNTRY
REPORT—SPAIN (2006), available at http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market/e-commerce/docs/
study/liability/spain_12nov2007_en.pdf (explaining how Spain chose to implement the
infringing activity where the complainant seeks damages or "awareness"
where the complainant seeks an alternate civil remedy.147
In 2008, Telecinco, a music publishing company, took YouTube to
court for clips of its content appearing on the site.148 The judge in Spain
decided in favor of YouTube on Telecinco’s copyright claims, refusing to
require that the company monitor users’ uploads and weed out any
potentially infringing content.149 The judge did say, however, that
YouTube could face liability if it did not remove content when informed
that it violated copyright.150 Interestingly, although the cases resulted in
very different rulings, the same media conglomerate that owns Telecinco
also owns the company that brought an action against YouTube in Italy.151
The E-Commerce Directive was implemented in Germany as part of
the 2007 Telemedia Act.152 According to the act, Internet service providers
do not have an affirmative responsibility to monitor for illegal activity.153
In secondary liability cases, German courts apply general tort law
147. See Miquel Peguera, Internet Service Providers’ Liability in Spain: Recent Case
Law and Future Perspectives, 1 JIPITEC 151, 152 (2010) ("Thus, a two-tiered standard is
set forth: lack of actual knowledge for claims other than for damages, and lack of
constructive knowledge in case of claims for damages.").
S. Juz. Mer. No. 7, 289/2010, Sept. 20, 2010.
149. See Pfanner, supra note 133 ("A Spanish court on Thursday sided with Google in a
dispute with the broadcaster Telecinco, saying Google’s online video-sharing service,
YouTube, did not have to screen television clips for potential copyright violations before
posting them on the site.").
150. See id. ("Like the American court, the judge in Madrid said YouTube was not
liable as long as it removed copyrighted material when notified by the rights holder.").
151. See id. (noting that Telecinco is owned by the Berlusconi family conglomerate);
see also infra note 168 and accompanying text (noting that the same conglomerate owns
Mediaset in Italy).
152. See Telemediengesetz, Feb. 26, 2007, BGB1. I at 179 (Ger.) ("This Law is
designed to implement Directive 2000/31/EC of the European Parliament and the Council of
8 June 2000 on certain legal aspects of information society services . . . ."). See generally
Gerald Spindler, Study on the Liability of Internet Intermediaries, EUROPEAN UNION
COUNTRY REPORT—GERMANY (2007), available at
http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market/ecommerce/docs/study/liability/germany_12nov2007_en.pdf (explaining how Germany chose
to implement the E-Commerce Directive).
153. See Telemediengesetz, supra note 152, art. 7 (stating that an ISP, as defined by the
Act, is not responsible for monitoring but is still responsible for any requirement to block or
remove illegal content arising under other areas of German law).
principles,154 and courts have been considering defendants joint tortfeasors
if they violated their "duty of care" in cases of "enabled infringement."155
In Germany, classical singer Sarah Brightman’s representative, joined
by Germany’s music royalty group, sued YouTube over the appearance of
protected music videos on the website.156 The 2010 decision of the
Hamburg district court refused to grant YouTube the same protections as
the courts in the United States or Spain.157 The court said that asking users
if they had the right to post content at the uploading screen was insufficient
to insulate YouTube from liability.158 Nonetheless, the court only imposed
liability where the plaintiffs had given YouTube some notice of the
presence of copyright violations on the site.159 Although it remains to be
seen whether this approach will survive a possible appeal to a higher court,
the decision to require YouTube to take down videos based on any notice of
alleged copyright infringement is consistent with the German approach to
Italy enacted the E-Commerce Directive by Legislative Decree No. 70
in 2003.161 The text of the decree mirrors that of the directive, verbatim in
many parts.162 Italian law does not specify notice-and-takedown procedures
for ISPs to follow when illegal content appears on their services.163
In 2008, the media company Mediaset filed a lawsuit for infringement
against YouTube because of its content illicitly appearing on the site.164
The Italian court ruled in favor of Mediaset and ordered YouTube to find
and remove all Mediaset content from the site.165 The Italian court applied
what is essentially strict liability to YouTube, a violation of the
ECommerce Directive it chose to implement.166 Despite the E-Commerce
Directive, Italy introduced draft laws in 2010 that would make companies
like YouTube responsible for its users’ actions when it comes to copyright
infringement.167 Some have found both the ruling and the proposed law
suspicious given that the Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s family
has controlling ownership of Mediaset.168
the Italian legal system . . . .").
164. See Dawn Kawamoto, Italian Company Sues YouTube, CNET.COM (July 20, 2008),
(last visited Mar. 2, 2011)
("Italian media company Mediaset announced on Wednesday
that it has filed a lawsuit against YouTube and owner Google, alleging that the video-sharing
site distributed and exploited its commercial property.") (on file with the Washington and
Lee Law Review).
165. Reti Televisive Italiane contro YouTube, Trib. Roma, 24 novembre 2009,
n.54218/08 (It.); see also Michael Day, Mediaset Beats YouTube in Court, VARIETY.COM
(Dec. 16, 2009), http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118012827?refCatId=19
Mar. 2, 2011)
("A Rome court ordered the video-sharing site to remove all illicitly uploaded
Mediaset content on Wednesday.") (on file with the Washington and Lee Law Review).
166. See supra note 128 and accompanying text (noting that the E-Commerce Directive
bars Member States from imposing an obligation on ISPs to monitor their services for
167. See ISP Cleared of Copyright Infringement, BBC NEWS (Feb. 4, 2010),
(last visited Mar. 2, 2011)
meanwhile, the government is proposing new laws which would make video channels such
as YouTube directly responsible for copyright infringement if their users upload copyrighted
material.") (on file with the Washington and Lee Law Review); see also YouTube, EU
ECommerce Rules Under Threat, EURATIV.COM (Jan. 27 2010), http://www.
Mar. 2, 2011)
("The European Commission is concerned about a draft Italian law requiring
video-sharing platforms such as YouTube to check that user-generated content is
lawful before it is posted. Many fear that the move—a clear breach of the E-Commerce
Directive—could set a dangerous precedent . . . .") (on file with the Washington and Lee
168. See Jeff Israely, Berlusconi vs. Google: Will Italy Censor YouTube?, TIME.COM
(Jan. 22, 2010), http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1955569,00.html
visited Mar. 2, 2011)
("The billionaire Prime Minister just happens to own the country’s
only major private television network, which critics say is a conflict of interest much more
troubling for the country than any of his private dalliances or verbal faux pas.") (on file with
the Washington and Lee Law Review).
V. Creating Specificity Regarding Secondary Liability in International Law
The differing approaches to secondary liability make it extraordinarily
difficult for companies like YouTube to operate internationally. Now is the
appropriate time for an international solution to this issue for several
reasons. First, a lack of specificity and clarity has had a negative effect on
courts attempting to apply the law in this area of liability, creating
confusion about when ISPs are liable for their users’ activities.169 Second,
the Internet’s growth since the WCT and WPPT treaties were passed
provides a better understanding of how Web 2.0 works and how it interacts
with legal structures. Third, safe harbor provisions are the best way to
protect the new Internet interactions of Web 2.0. Fourth, the desirability of
legal uniformity in an industry as borderless as the Internet means an
international response is the best solution to the uncertainty created by the
lack of a liability standard.
Both the DMCA and the E-Commerce Directive display intent to
protect innovation by providing a safe harbor for companies that serve as
conduits for user interaction and user-generated content.170 The DMCA
provides a clear structure, clarified even further by case law, for
determining when ISP awareness of infringement is sufficient to trigger
liability.171 The E-Commerce Directive provides for limited liability but
lacks clear procedures.172 As a result, despite the passing of the
ECommerce Directive, uncertainty as to when ISPs are liable for
unauthorized user activity has continued in the European Union.173 This
uncertainty can increase costs for new ISPs to enter the market, discourage
old ISPs from entering new markets, and dampen support for new
innovations in technology related to user-generated content. Kim Walker, a
169. See the case studies in Parts III–IV for a demonstration of how a lack of specificity
in the law results in incompatible judicial decisions.
170. See E-Commerce Directive, supra note 124, art. 14 (noting that disparity in
Member State law regarding secondary liability of ISPs prior to the passing of the directive
had "prevent[ed] the smooth functioning of the internal market"); see also supra notes 60–62
and accompanying text (explaining the U.S. Congress’s concerns and intentions in passing
the safe harbor provision of the DMCA); supra notes 124–29 (detailing how the
ECommerce Directive addresses ISP liability).
171. See STERLING, supra note 123, at 547–48 ("In short, section 512 [of the DMCA]
provides a legally defined scheme embracing statutory provisions on limitations of liability
and related procedures.").
172. See id. at 547 ("[N]o rules are laid down in the Directive as to what constitutes
actual knowledge, or how the service provider might obtain it.").
173. See supra Part IV.B (detailing the variation in European court judgments about
partner at the law firm Pinsens Masons in London, explained the problem
for companies with global operations when discussing the YouTube case in
Spain. She said, "The issue of when a host was liable has been getting a bit
vague, and some hosts in Europe have been getting a little bit nervous."174
Multiply that nervousness by operation in multiple countries across
multiple continents, and it is easy to see the difficulty for such companies.
When the applicable WIPO treaties were negotiated in the late 1990s,
there was still a significant amount of uncertainty regarding what forms of
Internet interaction would be successful.175 An example of this uncertainty
was reflected in the WIPO delegation’s rejection of a proposal to include in
the WCT clarification that online publication fulfilled the Berne
Convention’s publication requirement.176 One of the possible reasons for
its rejection was the question regarding the proposal’s effect on ISP
liability.177 In addition, the push from the United States’ delegates for
strong protections for content owners created negotiating problems with
countries that saw the United States as pushing a big business agenda.178
The user movement (Silke von Lewinski’s way of conceptualizing Web
2.0) was in its infancy during the WIPO treaty negotiations in the 1990s but
has since gained a foothold in both the academic community and the
attitudes of regular Internet users.179 Websites that typify the movement—
Facebook, Wikipedia, Flickr—only emerged in the early years of the new
Pfanner, supra note 133.
175. See LEWINSKI, supra note 24, at 431 (pointing out that WIPO member countries
"published documents on the possible consequences of digital technology for their national
laws only from mid-1994").
See id. at 484–85 (describing the proposed addition to the treaty).
177. See id. at 485 (theorizing why the delegation rejected the proposal based on the
recorded discussion at the negotiations).
178. See MAY, supra note 25, at 66 (explaining that the U.S. representatives’ push in
favor of American intellectual property producers drove much of the negotiating process);
see also LEWINSKY, supra note 24, at 598 ("[T]he gap between the systems of protections in
the USA and in the rest of the world, has always subsisted and hindered the adoption of
international protection as long as the USA participated in the negotiations.").
179. See LEWINSKI, supra note 24, at 590–93 (describing the beginning of the user
movement and its growth in recent years). Lewinski is generally critical of the user
movement that he describes as rooted in "the direct contact of individual users with
copyright uses that were previously performed only by publishers, broadcasters, or other
professionals." Id. at 591. Lewinski criticizes the user movement as being biased in favor of
a removing too many of the protections of authorial expression in favor of user freedom and
questioning the entire system of protection rather than seeking to fine tune it for new
technology. Id. at 592–93. Lewinski emphasizes the need to balance the rights of the
authors with the rights of the users. Id.
millennium.180 In the years since the treaty negotiations, the way users see
the Internet and conceptualize how they interact with it has changed.
Scholars have characterized these interactions as Web 2.0,181 the user
movement,182 and the Read/Write culture.183 At the heart of all these
definitions is the concept of the Internet as a place of interaction where
users participate in art and culture rather than simply consuming the culture
approved by the cultural gatekeepers of newspapers, record producers,
museum curators, and their ilk. Whether one embraces this as a welcome
addition to our culture184 or worries about the implications of this change
for cultural attitudes about author protection,185 the truth is that the Internet
has already changed. This change and its effect on Internet interaction
require a corresponding adjustment in the legal structure of liability.
It is true that digital technology and the Internet have made
unauthorized copying and distribution of copyrighted works much easier
and arguably more common.186 The problem of easy online copyright
infringement extends far beyond the part of the Internet occupied by
YouTube. The 2010 Cooks Source scandal amply illustrates this
unfortunate ease of theft. In 2010, an independent blogger realized that the
magazine Cooks Source had published a 2005 article of hers without
permission.187 After notifying the editor of the problem and requesting
180. See, e.g., Facebook, Facebook Profile, FACEBOOK.COM, http://www.facebook.com/
(last visited Mar. 2, 2011)
(listing its year of founding as 2004) (on file
with the Washington and Lee Law Review); Flickr, Press Page, FLICKR.COM,
(last visited Mar. 2, 2011)
(listing its year of creation as
2004) (on file with the Washington and Lee Law Review); Wikipedia, Wikipedia: About,
(last visited Mar. 2, 2011)
(listing its year of creation as 2001) (on file with the Washington and Lee Law Review).
181. See supra note 50 and accompanying text (explaining the definition and origin of
the concept of Web 2.0).
182. See supra note 179 and accompanying text (explaining the user movement and its
growth in the years after the passage of the WCT and the WPPT).
183. See LAWRENCE LESSIG, REMIX 28–29 (2008) (identifying Read/Write, or RW,
culture as one in which users interact with and add to artistic expression by analogizing it to
a file with Read/Write permissions that the user can modify).
See id. at 51–83 (explaining the benefits of RW culture).
185. See supra note 179 and accompanying text (raising concerns about the
implications the push for greater user-friendliness could have for the protection of authors’
186. See, e.g., SIVA VAIDYANATHAN, COPYRIGHTS AND COPYWRONGS 152 (2001) ("The
digital moment has . . . collapsed the distinctions among three formerly distinct processes:
gaining access to a work, using (we used to call it ‘reading’) a work, and copying a work.").
187. See Rene Lynch, Cooks Source Magazine v. the Web, LATIMES.COM (Nov. 4,
payment, the blogger received an email from the magazine’s editor refusing
to pay the blogger and asserting that anything posted online is public
domain and the practice was common.188 Subsequent investigation revealed
that the magazine had stolen numerous articles and recipes from Internet
sources, with a clear disregard for the intellectual property rights of the
original authors, by a simple copy-and-paste technique.189 This type of
activity is certainly troubling, and the ease with which it is possible is even
A resulting question is: Are we as a culture willing to make ISPs
responsible for policing all the content that flows through their services?
To date the answer has been no, and traditionally copyright holders have
born the responsibility of enforcing their copyrights.190 Commentators
often frame the discussion in terms of the responsibility of large and
wealthy ISPs like YouTube.191 Despite the admitted usefulness of this lens,
one which this Note also uses, it is important to remember that ISPs also
include Internet access providers, libraries, universities, and start-up
companies.192 Such ISPs provide valuable services, but some lack the
resources to employ policing mechanisms like YouTube’s Content ID.193
(last visited Mar. 2, 2011)
(detailing the origins of the controversy) (on file with the
Washington and Lee Law Review).
188. See id. ("Translation: The magazine believes it can copy and paste anything it
finds there—your recipes, Los Angeles Times recipes—into the pages of its own magazine
and you can’t do anything about it.").
189. See Edward Champion, The Cooks Source Scandal: How a Magazine Profits from
Theft, EDWARD CHAMPION’S RELUCTANT HABITS BLOG (Nov. 5, 2010),
visited Mar. 2, 2011)
(finding that the magazine had at least six documented instances of
lifting articles from websites that included recipes from The Food Network) (on file with the
Washington and Lee Law Review).
190. See STERLING, supra note 123, at 575 (explaining the position of the rights holder
with regard to enforcement proceedings and arguing the importance of international
harmonization of enforcement mechanisms to alleviate some of the burden on rights holders
in the digital environment).
191. See Steven Seidenberg, Copyright in the Age of YouTube, ABAJOURNAL.COM
(Feb. 1, 2009), http://www.abajournal.com/magazine/article/copyright_in_the_age_of_
(last visited Mar. 2, 2011)
("Even without the burden of doing fair-use analyses,
copyright owners are having a tough time policing UGC sites; the volume of posts is
overwhelming. Ten hours of video content are put online every minute of every day—more
than 250,000 clips per day—and that is just on YouTube.") (on file with the Washington and
Lee Law Review).
192. See supra note 63 and accompanying text (listing some of the types of services
that courts have ruled fell under the ISP umbrella and explaining that courts have been
liberal in applying the definition).
193. See YouTube, Inc., Audio and Video ID, YOUTUBE.COM, http://www.youtube.com/
In some cases, legitimate uses that are protected as "fair use"—prevalent on
the networks of library and university service providers—could be
hampered by requiring affirmative policing. Any legal schemes that
encompass YouTube’s potential responsibilities to copyright holders will
also have consequences for the small and less-funded companies.
Together these concerns indicate that the time has come for nations to
negotiate an international treaty covering secondary liability for ISPs under
the auspices of the WIPO. An international treaty could reach beyond the
United States and the European Union to the important and expanding
markets in Asia, Africa, and the Americas as well as creating valuable
discussion on how properly to structure a new balance of interests in
copyright law. The treaty should create a safe harbor for ISPs from
secondary liability with clear and specific provisions. Those provisions
should specify what qualifies as an ISP and what actions the ISP must take
to stay within the safe harbor protection. Clear procedures are necessary to
give legislatures and businesses certainty about what actions an ISP must
take in order to avoid liability.
First, the treaty should clearly define what an ISP is. This Note
proposes that a comprehensive definition would best be reached by creating
a hybrid of the definitions already present in the DMCA and the EU
directives that have addressed service providers. A hybrid definition is
necessary to provide clarity and flexibility beyond that offered by the
DMCA definition, which does not adequately cover new technology. The
DMCA definition, this Note contends, defines an ISP too much in line with
the colloquial definition of an ISP as a network access provider. The
DMCA defines a service provider as "an entity offering the transmission,
routing, or providing of connections for digital online communications,
between or among points specified by a user, of material of the user’s
choosing, without modification to the content of the material as sent or
received."194 Problematically, it also appears to limit the definition for most
of the safe harbor protections to "a provider of online services or network
access, or the operator of facilities therefor."195 American courts have
(last visited Mar. 2, 2011)
(explaining the program) (on file with the Washington
and Lee Law Review). Content ID is a software-based service that YouTube provides to
copyright holders. Id. It allows them to submit audio or video files which the program
checks against uploaded videos for matches. Id. If there is a match, YouTube tracks,
blocks, or requests a licensing fee depending on the copyright holder’s wishes. Id.
According to YouTube’s official description, the use of the program is free, but there is an
additional charge for the licensing option. Id.
194. 17 U.S.C. § 512 (k)(1)(A).
195. Id. § 512 (k)(1)(B).
interpreted the DMCA’s definition of service provider broadly yet commented
that this broad interpretation is not clear from the text itself.196 The European
Union definition of service provider, called information society services in the
directives, is spread among different directives.197 The definition "covers any
service normally provided for remuneration, at a distance, by means of
electronic equipment for the processing (including digital compression, and
storage of data, and at the individual request compression) of a recipient of a
service" as well as "data processing and storage."198 This Note proposes
combining these definitions into one: an entity offering the transmission,
routing, or providing of connections for digital online communications, or an
entity providing remunerative services from a distance at the behest and
instruction of the user and via means of electronic processing and storage of
data. This definition is more comprehensive while providing clarity and
allowing flexibility for the ever changing landscape of online services. It is
meant to be a starting point, for the negotiating parties to modify as necessary.
Second, the treaty should clearly define what procedures an ISP must
follow to qualify for the safe harbor from liability. This Note proposes that the
notice-and-takedown procedures laid out in the DMCA199 and similar to ones
adopted in some EU countries200 provide a good base for treaty provisions.
These proposed procedures would create a uniform and clear international
standard for liability in a way that would allow global companies to construct
standardized operations for dealing with copyright violations on their sites and
networks. The ISPs should provide a clear and easy way to contact their
designated agent with information that infringing material appears on their
service. No ISP should be required to actively police its service. Given that
copyright law grants copyright holders what is essentially a monopoly on their
content for the life of the author plus seventy years, it is logical to place the
responsibility of policy for violations on the content holders.201 The content
196. See, e.g., Perfect 10, Inc. v. Cybernet Ventures, Inc., 213 F. Supp. 2d 1146, 1175
(C.D. Cal. 2002)
("Although there appears to be uniform agreement that the definition is
broad, or at least broader than the definition of 512(k)(1)(A) concerning conduit-type
services, the court has found no discussion of this definition’s limits.").
197. See E-Commerce Directive, supra note 124, art. 17 (noting that the appropriate
definition was already covered by Directive 98/34/EC of June 22, 1998 and Directive
98/84/EC of Nov. 20, 1998).
199. See 17 U.S.C. § 512(c) (2008) (detailing the procedures for ISPs to avoid liability
and for content holders properly to notify of infringement).
200. See, e.g., supra note 140 and accompanying text (listing France as a country that
has chosen to use notice-and-takedown procedures).
201. See 17 U.S.C. § 302(a) (2008) (setting the term of copyright protection at life of
holder should provide the ISP with clear information to identify the material,
including the location, so that the ISP can remove the material. All provided
information should be reasonably sufficient for each party to carry out their
tasks. Within this general structure, this Note argues that the negotiating
parties should create more precise directions on how to fulfill the notification
and takedown requirements.
Individual countries have taken steps to address the problems created by
the cultural changes of the user movement, or Web 2.0.202 Yet the international
nature of the issue calls for an international solution. As Siva Vaidyanathan
points out in his book Copyrights and Copywrongs, "[d]igitization and
networking have . . . collapsed the distinctions between local and global
concerns" when it comes to copyright.203 Even websites that are far too small
to have international operations in the same way as Facebook or YouTube can
be accessed from other countries by a simple click, though certain content can
be geo-blocked.204 Though this Note has used YouTube’s legal troubles in the
United States and Europe as a convenient lens to look at the issue, problems of
secondary liability for user-generated content are hardly restricted to YouTube
in the United States and the European Union. Copyright holders and ISPs have
raised the same questions in countries outside the scope of this Note. For
example, in Australia in 2010, a group of content owners sued one of the
country’s main internet access services, arguing that it was liable for its users’
illegal downloading.205 The court ruled there was no liability, saying that "[i]f
the ISPs become responsible for the acts of their customers, essentially they
become this giant and very cheap mechanism for anyone with any sort of legal
the author plus seventy years in compliance with Berne Convention requirements).
202. See supra Part III.A (noting that these steps are exemplified by the DMCA in the
US); see also supra Part IV.B (noting the choices EU Member States made in implementing
the E-Commerce Directive).
203. VAIDYANATHAN, supra note 186, at 153.
204. See Daisy Yu, Geo-Blocking: Jamming a Square Peg in a Round Hole,
ECOMMERCETIMES.COM (July 30, 2010), http://www.ecommercetimes.com/rsstory/
(last visited Mar. 2, 2011)
(explaining the general workings of geo-blocking) (on
file with the Washington and Lee Law Review). Geo-blocking is a type of digital rights
management that restricts content availability to certain geographic locations, usually
countries. Id. Geo-blocking is most commonly used to restrict access to videos to the
geographic area for which the content has been licensed. Id. Because geo-blocking is done
using the IP address of the user, it is fairly simple to circumvent even for Internet users
lacking in technical knowledge. Id.
205. See Verna, supra note 2 ("[I]iNet, Australia’s third largest ISP, was taken to court
by a group of 34 movie production houses . . . . They claimed that iiNet was guilty of
copyright infringement for not preventing illegal downloads of films.").
claim."206 In 2011, the Federal Court of Australia dismissed the content
owners’ appeal of the verdict below.207 As far back as 2006, the Japan Society
for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers expressed concern over
unauthorized anime videos showing up on YouTube.208 Copyright is a global
issue that goes beyond the United States and Europe.
Over a decade after the WIPO treaties, it is time to revisit global copyright
law regarding ISP liability with the knowledge gained from the battles fought
in courts across the WIPO signatory nations. In the years since the treaties’
negotiation, two of the main producers and consumers of intellectual property,
the United States and the European Union, took different approaches to the
same problem, although they had similar intentions.
The United States chose to address ISP liability in a very specific way in
the DMCA.209 The DMCA offered ISPs a safe harbor from liability in
exchange for those ISPs following specific practices to get unauthorized
content off their services.210 ISPs responded by moving to put in place
protections that complied with the legislation, and U.S. courts have turned to
those procedural requirements in secondary liability cases. In the largest case
of this type since the passing of the DMCA, the Viacom judge chose to use the
procedural requirements as a test rather than require that YouTube
affirmatively seek out any copyright violations on its site.211 Since this case
began, YouTube has developed software programs to assist content holders in
locating infringement on the site.
The European Union and its Member States took a different tack in
addressing ISP liability. The European Union chose to emphasize flexibility in
its solution, instructing Member States to offer protection for ISPs without
specifying how or what procedures ISPs could follow in order to qualify for
that protection.212 When implementing the resulting E-Commerce Directive,
Member States passed varying legislation. Some chose to create procedures
for ISPs while others adopted the directive’s provisions with little to no
change.213 The result was litigation with diametrically opposite outcomes.
The solution to this problem is an international treaty negotiated through
the WIPO that contains specific procedures for ISPs to follow if they want to
qualify for a safe harbor from liability. The international nature of a treaty
addresses the nature of the Internet as non-border space. The specificity
addresses the nature of ISPs as a provider of a service. Lacking knowledge of
what circumstances trigger liability can have a chilling effect on expansion for
all but the richest ISPs, the very ones that are generally pointed to as the origin
of all the copyright holders’ woes. By defining when and how an ISP
generates responsibility for its users’ actions, this solution allows for the
development of new Web 2.0 applications while still leaving room for
prosecution where appropriate.
ISP liability is a significant, current issue for the Internet. User-interaction
is a significant part of the most-visited and most famous sites on the Internet.
ISP liability also turns up in less well-known areas, affecting libraries and
universities among others. It is important to consider what we value about the
Internet and what is worth protecting. The interactive nature of the Internet is
worth protecting, and that protection is possible without sacrificing artistic
Returning to Ayn’s uploaded videos from the introduction, different
commentators would suggest that liability for her misdeed should attach to
YouTube the moment she uploaded the videos (and YouTube did not "catch"
them), the moment another user flagged them as infringing (and YouTube did
not take them down), or the moment YouTube allowed Ayn to make a new
account. The purpose of this Note is not to suggest where in that line of events
liability should attach but rather to say that the where, when, and how of
liability needs to be clear enough to give ISPs the tools to avoid it. The
international community needs to make the law hard to break, not hard to
IV. Open-Ended Secondary Liability Legislation and Results.........1573
A. The European Union's Approach to ISP Liability ..............1573
and Applications in Four EU Member States...................... 1575 1 . France ........................................................................... 1575 2 . Spain ............................................................................. 1576 3 . Germany ....................................................................... 1577 4 . Italy ...............................................................................1578
in International Law ................................................................... 1580 5 . See, e.g., Carlo Longino , IFPI Says 95% of Music Downloads Are Illegal,
TECHDIRT. COM (Jan. 19 , 2009 6:58 AM), http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20090116/
0955383440. shtml (last visited Mar. 2 , 2011 ) (questioning the accuracy of the IFPI's
Review) . 8 . See Debora Halbert , Mass Culture and the Culture of the Masses: A Manifesto for
User-Generated Rights , 11 VAND. J. ENT. & TECH . L. 921 , 923 - 24 ( 2009 ) (explaining the
history and effect of user-generated content ). 22 . See GRAEME DINWOODIE ET AL., INTERNATIONAL INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY LAW
AND POLICY 35 (2d ed. 2008 ) [hereinafter DINWOODIE] (describing the development of the
use of multi-lateral treaties in the copyright context ). 23 . See id. at 35-36 ( explaining how the Berne and Paris Conventions are the two
treaties with the most signatory countries in the world ). 24 . See SILKE VON LEWINSKI, INTERNATIONAL COPYRIGHT LAW AND POLICY 411-13
( 2008 ) (explaining the history of the WIPO and its antecedents as treaty administrators ). 25 . See CHRISTOPHER MAY , THE WORLD INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY ORGANIZATION:
RESURGENCE AND THE DEVELOPMENT AGENDA 19-21 ( 2007 ) (providing a timeline for the
creation of the treaties and accompanying administrative agencies). 26. See id. at 24 (explaining that two of the primary motives for the move to
participation by developing countries) . 27 . See WIPO , Member States , http://www.wipo.int/members/en/ (last visited Mar. 2 ,
2011 ) (listing more established countries such as the United States , France, and Germany as
and Lee Law Review) . 28 . WIPO, What is WIPO?, http://www.wipo.int/about-wipo/en/what_is_wipo.html
39. World Intellectual Property Organization Copyright Treaty art. 11 , Dec . 20 , 1996 ,
36 I.L.M. 65 [ hereinafter WCT ]. 40. WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty, Dec. 20 , 1996 , 36 I.L.M. 76
[hereinafter WPPT]. 41 . See WCT , supra note 39, art. 8 ( "[A]uthors of literary and artistic works shall
wire or wireless means . . . . "); see also WPPT, supra note 40, art . 14 ( "Producers of
of their phonograms, by wire or wireless means . . . .") . 42 . See , e.g., DINWOODIE ET AL., supra note 22 , at 559 (discussing the meaning of the
WCT and WPPT provisions) . 43. WCT, supra note 39 , art. 12. The acts in question were "to remove or alter any
44. See WPPT , supra note 40, art. 19 (containing the same wording other than
55. Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 2008 , Pub. L. No. 105 - 304 , 112 Stat. 2860
(codified at 17 § U.S.C. 101 et seq .). 57 . See id. (explaining the steps Congress took in the 1980s and 1990s in response to
strongly favored copyright holders) . 60. See The Senate Committee on the Judiciary Report, S. REP. NO. 105-190, at 8
( 1998 ) [hereinafter Senate Report] (expressing concern that "without clarification of their
of the speed and capacity of the Internet" ). 61 . 17 U.S.C. § 512 ( 2008 ). 62 . Id . § 512 ( k)(1)(A). 63. See ALS Scan, Inc . v. RemarQ Cmtys., Inc., 239 F.3d 619 , 626 ( 4th Cir . 2001 )
v. Amazon.com, Inc., 351 F. Supp . 2d 1090 , 1100 (W.D. Wash . 2004 ) (finding that
Amazon. com fits within the definition); Perfect 10, Inc . v. Cybernet Ventures, Inc., 213 F.
Supp. 2d 1146 , 1175 (C.D. Cal . 2002 ) ("For the moment, however, the Court will assume
that Cybernet is a 'provider of online services' as defined in section 512(k)."); Hendrickson
v. eBay, Inc., 165 F. Supp . 2d 1082 , 1087 (C.D. Cal . 2001 ) ("[E]Bay clearly meets the
DMCA's broad definition of online 'service provider . '") . 64 . 17 U.S.C. § 512 (c)(1)(A) ( 2008 ). 65 . Id . § 512 ( c )(1)(B ). 66 . Id . § 512 ( c )(1)(C). 67 . Id . § 512 . 84. See Complaint at 5, Viacom Int'l Inc . v. YouTube, Inc., 718 F. Supp . 2d 514
(S.D.N .Y. Mar. 13 , 2007 ) (No. 07 Civ . 2103) [hereinafter Complaint] (listing Viacom's
claims against YouTube and their basis) . 104 . See Corbis Corp. v. Amazon.com, Inc., 351 F. Supp . 2d 1090 , 1108 (W.D. Wash .
2004 ) (finding that Amazon did not have liability for vendors using their marketplace
service to sell infringing items) . 112 . Viacom Int'l Inc . v. YouTube, Inc., 718 F. Supp . 2d 514 , 525 (S.D.N .Y. 2010 ). 113 . See id. at 526 (discussing the line of cases beginning with MGM Studios, Inc . v.
Grokster , Ltd.) ; see also MGM Studios, Inc . v. Grokster, Ltd., 545 U.S. 913 , 919 ( 2005 )
clearly encouraged users to violate copyright) . 114. See Viacom , 718 F. Supp . 2d at 525 (explaining why the DMCA either did not
come up in the case or did not offer the defendant any protection ). 115. See Motion for Partial Summary Judgment at 2 , Viacom Int'l Inc . v. YouTube
Inc., 718 F. Supp . 2d 514 (S.D.N .Y. Mar. 18 , 2010 ) (No. 07 Civ . 2103) (arguing that the
Grokster case led to judgment for the plaintiffs ). 116. See Viacom , 718 F. Supp . 2d at 526 (pointing out that even Viacom in its strongest
infringing activity and thus the Grokster analogy was unsuitable). 117. Notice of Appeal, Viacom Int'l Inc. v. YouTube Inc ., 718 F. Supp . 2d 514 , No. 07
Civ. 2103 (S.D.N .Y. Aug. 10 , 2010 ). 118 . See supra notes 108-13 and accompanying text (upholding the ruling in a similar
case involving secondary liability for trademark infringement ). 154 . See ESTELLE DERCLAYE , RESEARCH HANDBOOK ON THE FUTURE OF EU COPYRIGHT
234 ( 2009 ) (explaining the general structure of copyright infringement suits in Germany) . 155 . See id. at 234- 35 ( "In recent decisions, however, the courts rather tend to consider
persons who violate a duty of care when enabling infringement as joint tortfeasors . ") . 156. O'Brien, supra note 144 . 157. LG Hamburg, Sept. 9 , 2010 , 8. Zivilkammer, 308 O 27/09 (Ger.). 158 . See Christopher Lawton, German Court Rules Against Google in Copyright Case,
WALL ST. J. ( Sept. 7 , 2010 ), http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2010/09/07/german-court-rules-
against-google-in-copyright-case/ (last visited Mar. 2 , 2011 ) (explaining the court's
reasoning) (on file with the Washington and Lee Law Review) . 159 . See Zivilkammer, 308 O 27/09 at ¶ 77 ( noting that the court would not impose
liability where YouTube did not have "actual knowledge" of the copyright infringement ). 160. See supra notes 154-55 and accompanying text (explaining the general approach
to secondary liability in Germany). 161 . Giovanni Maria Riccio, Study on the Liability of Internet Intermediaries,
EUROPEAN UNION COUNTRY REPORT-ITALY 2 ( 2007 ), available at http://ec.europa.eu/
internal_market/e-commerce/docs/study/liability/italy_12nov2007_en.pdf. 162. See id. (detailing the provisions of the decree that are verbatim copies of the text of
the E-Commerce Directive ). 163 . See id. at 4 ("There are no specific notice and takedown . . . procedures in place in 206. Id. 207. See Joe Schneider, Hollywood Studios Lose Appeal on Australian Piracy Lawsuit,
BLOOMBERG. COM (Feb. 24 , 2006 ), http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-02-24/disney-
viacom-lose-bid-to-hold-internet-provider-liable-for-users-piracy . html (last visited Mar . 2 ,
2011 ) ("Walt Disney Co. and Viacom Inc.'s Paramount Pictures are among Hollywood's
films.") (on file with the Washington and Lee Law Review) . 208 . See Andrew Leonard, YouTube: I Think I'm Turning Japanese , SLATE. COM (Dec .
10, 2006 ), http://www.salon.com/technology/how_the_world_works/ 2006 /12/20/youtube_
in_japan (last visited Mar. 2 , 2011 ) (explaining the concerns of Japanese content owners and
Washington and Lee Law Review). 209. Supra Part III.A. 210. Supra notes 61-67 and accompanying text. 211. Supra Part III.B.