A company that develops personnel assessment tests for companies to vet prospective employees has filed a lawsuit against YouTube demanding that the platform is permanently blocked by ISPs in the country. OnTarget says that the video platform has not responded to previous orders to remove its content so must now be considered a repeat infringer under Russia’s anti-piracy laws.
Five years ago, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki revealed that 400 hours of video were being uploaded to the platform every minute. Today that volume has increased to a staggering 500 hours per minute, a vast amount of content by any standard.
While the majority of the video uploaded to YouTube isn’t problematic for the company or third-parties, some users breach copyright law by uploading content that infringes on the rights of others. When that content is discovered by YouTube’s Content ID system or is manually claimed by a rightsholder it can be monetized or removed, but not everything goes smoothly.
In 2018, Russia-based HR-solutions company OnTarget obtained a ruling from the Moscow City Court which compelled Google-owned YouTube to remove some of its content uploaded without permission. Among other things, the company creates personnel assessment test videos and some of these had been uploaded to YouTube by channels that reportedly assist people to obtain jobs by gaming the system.
According to a report from Kommersant, Google appealed in 2019, stating that the content was no longer on YouTube. However, the court dismissed the case, stating that the platform had “not eliminated the threat” of the plaintiff’s rights being violated in the future. It now appears that prediction has come to pass.
OnTarget has now filed another copyright infringement complaint against Google at the Moscow City Court. Founder and CEO of the company Svetlana Simonenko says that YouTube channels informing job seekers on how to “trick future employees and pass tests for them” has posted video tests developed by OnTarget to the platform in breach of copyright.
Speaking with Kommersant, Simonenko says that the lawsuit demands that YouTube should be completely blocked by local ISPs as the violations against her company continue. She claims that Google has not deleted the infringing content and this means YouTube should be considered a repeat infringer under Russia’s anti-piracy laws.
The permanent blocking of websites is a measure only usually taken against the most blatant of infringing platforms, such as massive torrent site RuTracker that despite repeated warnings, fails to remove any copyrighted content following complaints.
As written, Russia’s copyright laws require that sites that repeatedly infringe copyright should be completely blocked in the country but according to experts, demands to have a site like YouTube blocked across Russia over a few videos are likely to fail under pressure.
“It is clear that the requirement to block the whole of YouTube due to several videos is excessive, and the Moscow City Court should reject the normal course of events due to the fact that it is not proportional to the violation,” says Anatoly Semenov, Deputy Head of the IP Committee of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP).
Semenov says that due to the way the law is written the Court isn’t in a position to push aside the requirement to block the entire site and replace that with a requirement to block individual links to content. However, it could simply refuse to apply it in this case or even refer the matter to the Constitutional Court.
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