In a Major EU Test, DailyMotion Fined €5.5 Million for Failing to Remove Infringing Content

In a well-watched case, Dailymotion has been tagged with a €5.5 million ($6.1 million) fine for failing to proactively remove copyrighted videos.

French video-sharing website Dailymotion has been fined €5.5 million (about $6.1 million) by Italy’s Court of Rome; the sum will be paid to Mediaset, the largest commercial broadcaster in Italy.

Mediaset initially filed a case against Dailymotion in 2012 but went on to submit six additional lawsuits after Dailymotion failed to remove the content in question — roughly 1,000 videos that are copyrighted and owned by Mediaset.

Rulings in similar copyright-infringement lawsuits are expected to be finalized in the near future, and experts have indicated that Dailymotion could pay a total of nearly $225 million to companies and brands whose copyrighted content they’ve failed to remove.

Dailymotion’s lawyers argued that the website should only be responsible for removing content that’s been flagged by copyright holders — as is the case in the U.S. under the DMCA (and the prevailing treatment in many other countries).  This ruling turns that assumption on its head, and it’s also indicative of the changing climate in European Union courts, which are assuming more prominent and aggressive roles against companies that they believe to be infringing copyright.

This decision will also impact a multitude of other copyright infringement cases that have been filed in EU nations.  Hovering in the background is the recently-passed European Copyright Directive and its reinterpretations of safe harbor statutes, though the Court of Rome didn’t directly cite those changes.  Instead, the ruling noted that Dailymotion fell outside of safe harbor protections and provisions.

In 2018, EU courts fined Google $5 billion for allegedly prioritizing and seeking an edge for its Chrome browser and Google Play Store on cell phones. The year before that, Google was tagged with an EU fine worth $2.7 billion, for allegedly manipulating search engine rankings.

While these examples are different than the Dailymotion-Mediaset lawsuit, they are worth mentioning in that they set the stage for smaller-scale violations to be punished severely and definitively in EU courts.

Dailymotion is owned by Vivendi, a French mass-media conglomerate that earned over $13 billion in 2017 and also happens to own Universal Music Group.