On June 22, 2007, the First Instance Court of Paris ruled that MYSPACE was liable for copyright infringement of the videos of the French comedian Mr. Jean-Yves Lafesse by the unauthorized broadcasting of his work. The main legal point of the proceeding was about the real role of the website: was it just a hosting provider or did it act as a publisher?
The President of the Court considered MySpace was not only a host of the infringing videos but also a publisher due to the structures, control over the posting and broadcasting, and the amount of money involved in the advertising displayed while the public was on the website. Consequently, MYSPACE was condemned to pay 50 000 euros for the business prejudice and 3 000 euros for the moral prejudice and the concerned
web pages were ordered to be deleted.
The French comedian also sued YOUTUBE and DAILYMOTION for business prejudice for 8 millions Euros and 1,5 millions Euros respectively. The above criterion relative to the advertising displayed on a website was used toward TISCALI in early June 2007 and the decision to also retained its quality of publisher and ruled copyright infringement.
However, on July 13, 2007, The Court of First Instance, retained the responsibility as to the content of the website while ruling that DAILYMOTION was not a publisher but only a hosting provider (because the users provided themselves the contents of the website) retained the responsibility as to the content of the website.
Regarding the French act of 2004 on confidence in the digital environment, the judgment pointed out the fact that the website was not obliged to seek facts of copyright infringements on the site and so it cannot be held liable for infringement, except if it was aware of the presence of illegal contents on its website. These decisions as well as recent rulings in Germany and Belgium and the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act in USA show a tendency to condemn websites more severely as to their content beyond the sole legal qualification of the practice relating thereto.