(Reuters) – Google LLC's YouTube and other online platforms are not responsible when users illegally upload copyrighted works to their platforms, but rights holders can sue companies, an adviser to the European Court of Justice said on Thursday.  EU judges, who have followed such opinions in four out of five cases, will decide the issue in the coming months.
In recent years, online platforms and social media have been at the center of a debate about how much responsibility they should bear for illegal or hateful content published on their platforms.
The European Commission aims to address this issue with new rules known as the Digital Services Act by the end of the year.
Existing EU rules exempt YouTube and its comrades from such responsibility when they hear about violations and remove them, said Advocate General Henrik Saugmandsgaard Øe in a non-binding opinion on two cases before the court.
"As the E U law currently stands, online platform operators, such as YouTube and Uploaded, are not directly responsible for the illegal uploading of protected works by users of these platforms," he said.
"Otherwise, there would be a risk of platform operators becoming judges of online legality and a risk of" deletion "of content stored by them at the request of users of their platforms insofar as they also remove legal content," he said.
The first case before the court concerns Frank Peterson, a music producer, who sued YouTube and Google in Germany for uploading to YouTube in 2008 several phonograms to which he has the rights.
The second case concerns the publishing group Elsevier's lawsuit against Cyando in Germany for uploading several Elsevier works with its file hosting and file sharing platform that was uploaded in 201