High Court of First Instance of Paris (3rd Chamber), 22 September 2009, ADAMI c/ Société YouTube, RLDI 2009/53, L. Costes
The High Court of First Instance of Paris ruled that YouTube is a hosting provider under the French Act of 21 June 2004 on Confidence in the Digital Environment, and not a publisher.
The claimants, a comic double act, brought a copyright infringement case against YouTube after discovering that some of their videos were reproduced on YouTube’s website.
The Court rejected the claim, considering that no legal text excludes the qualification of hosting provider where a provider intends to broadcast the information that he stocks on his website, indeed more so that the Act on Confidence in the Digital Environment provides that storage must be in order to put the information at the disposal of the public by means of communication services, but the Act does not provide that this must necessarily be done by the service of the user. The Court therefore considers that the fact that videos were broadcasted on its website is not sufficient to consider that YouTube may be held liable for the content put on line and belonging to internet users.
Moreover, the Court ruled that YouTube is not liable in the present case, as YouTube may not be held responsible for not trying to do all it could to avoid the illegal content reappearing on its site (on the “stay down” obligation, see the ruling of the High Court of First Instance of Paris, 19 October 2007, http://copyrightfrance.blogspot.com/2007/11/google-video-held-liable-for-not-doing.html).