German YouTube Hits Copyright Snag

COLOGNE, GERMANY Legal issues could hold up the launch of a German version of YouTube.

The video site, which recently added a slew of local-language offerings including regional versions for Brazil, Japan, Italy, France and the U.K., is stuck in legal wranglings with the country’s leading copyright-protection group.

Copyright organization GEMA said Wednesday that it has not yet reached an agreement with YouTube parent Google on compensation for artists whose copyright-protected works are appropriated by YouTube users.

GEMA lawyer Kerstin Becker said the issue at stake is not only future revenue but also compensation for past copyright violations by German users of YouTube’s U.S. site.

A German Google spokesman would confirm only that the company was in negotiations with various partners” concerning its German launch. He added that Google hoped Germany will be among a “second wave” of local-language sites expected in the coming months.