The highest court in the European Union recently ruled that YouTube and other online platforms are not liable for videos that infringe on copyright —as long as they act quickly to remove the content.

YouTube wins

For a little background on the case, Europe’s creative industry sued YouTube for hosting content that infringed on intellectual property. This resulted in a larger debate about whether online platforms should be liable for copyright infringement. The platform and many creators spoke out against the case. If held liable, the platform would have to crack down on creators even more than it is now to prevent being financially liable for thousands of copyright violations.

According to a report by Reuters, the EU Court of Justice ruling finds the operators of the online platform “do not, in principle, themselves make a communication to the public of copyright-protected content illegally posted online by users of those platforms.” As a general practice, YouTube says it doesn’t engage in illegal uploads and doesn’t protect content that infringes copyright.

YouTube still can be liable in certain situations

There’s still a chance YouTube and other online platforms can be liable. If any platform knowingly keeps videos up that contain copyright material and doesn’t take it down, they will be held accountable.

Looking forward

Nevertheless, this is a huge win for online platforms. Over the years, YouTube has tightened its restrictions on copyright material. However, the ruling is both a good and bad thing for creators. While YouTube won’t be accountable for the content that violates copyright if it takes action, there’s still a chance it will be if it don’t take immediate action against copyright material. This could lead to more regulation than before, likely ramping up its automated moderation. We will have to wait and see what kind of new policies this decision leads to.