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France typically hasn't been kind to Google. Today, though, it's cutting some important slack. A court has ruled that the search firm can't be held liable when YouTube members upload clips of their favorite football matches or movies from local network TF1. As in a case involving Dailymotion last year, the judge saw YouTube as just the host for others' videos rather than having any hand in producing the content itself. Not only does the decision let Google off the hook for a possible €141 million ($177 million) fine, it prevents the company from having to pre-screen every video that might be visible in France -- a difficult challenge for a company that takes 72 hours of new video every minute. Google is still facing less-than-cordial attitudes towards its copyright enforcement in other countries, including a zombie Viacom lawsuit in the US, but it now has some extra ammunition if it wants to cite a precedent.

[Image credit: Premiere]