- Research Handbooks in European Law series
Edited by Andrej Savin and Jan Trzaskowski
Chapter 13: Developments in intermediary liability
On February 2005, three PayPal employees, Jawed Karim, Chad Hurley and Steve Chen, attended a San Francisco dinner party, at which they started talking about various topics that included the Asian tsunami and Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction at the previous year’s Super Bowl. The result of such a random conversation was the idea to create a website in which users could upload videos they wanted to share with the world. On May 2005, the three went ahead and founded a small video-sharing website that later became known as YouTube. Just over a year later, YouTube had grown to be one of the most important sites in the Internet; by July 2006 the site was receiving 100 million uploads per day and its content accounted for 60 per cent of all videos watched online at the time. The site’s popularity was such that Google acquired it in November 2006 for $1.65 billion in stock. While the original intent of YouTube was to provide a platform in which the public would upload their own family events, recorded thoughts, video logs, and other user-generated content, the site was from the start accused of facilitating large-scale copyright infringement. However, despite having clips of TV shows, movies, music videos and a myriad of other protected content, YouTube managed to avoid being sued for a relatively long period of its early life, which allowed the site to cement its prominent position amongst what was a growing and important sector of the online environment.
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