Editorial Director: Giusella Finocchiaro
Web Content Manager: Giulia Giapponesi

The Court of Rome has issued a decision establishing that copyright holders are not entitled to seek an order of precautionary control by websites which host user-generated contents.

With this decision the Rome Court judges dismissed the recourse by RTI Mediaset which had requested the Court to order Google to prohibit all future streaming of certain live sports events on its blog hosting service.

RTI’s request follows a controversy which arose because of the sports web portal “Calciolink”, hosted on Blogger (Google’s blog platform), which illegally broadcasted live Serie A, NBA and Champion’s League matches the television rights of which are owned by RTI.

Despite the fact that Google blacked out access to the website after RTI’s report of copyright infringement, RTI requested the Rome Court judges to issue a measure aimed at preventing the future circulation of illegal content.

In rejecting RTI’s request the judges made reference to art. No. 17 of Legislative Decree 70/2003, which acknowledges the European Directive on e-commerce and underlined that “Precautionary control does not seem to be the responsibility of the host, since Italian courts cannot impose a specific obligation of surveillance in violation of the clear EU ruling” and also that “the service provider cannot be expected to have to take on the obligation of real-time verification of the material uploaded by its users ” and “even if control ever became enforceable with limited costs and automatic mechanisms, it would still conflict with the freedom of speech and expression.”

posted by admin on giugno 20, 2011

Copyrights

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Once again a content provider operating in Italy has been held liable for copyright infringement regarding user generated contents.

The Court of Milan has recently condemned Libero.it, a provider owned by Italia Online Ltd., for violation of intellectual property rights on audiovisual works. The claim involves about a thousand videoclips from highly successful TV programmes such as Grande Fratello (Big Brother) and others. The programmes are owned by RTI Italy (Mediaset), a well-known broadcasting company.

The decision is mainly based on the fact that Libero.it had previously received a request from RTI Italy (Mediaset) to remove the files infringing copyright and failed to comply with that request.

Although the Court recognized the impossibility of carrying out precautionary checks on the files uploaded by users, the decision held Libero.it liable for not having verified the contents notified by RTI.

Libero.it’s defence was based on the fact that the RTI notification was a “general warning” containing only the titles of the programmes to be removed, and therefore it would have been “impossible to identify the specific videoclips in consideration of the huge number of videos posted daily by users.”

These grounds were not upheld by the Judge who held that, given the popularity of those programmes, “a merely superficial and cursory check” would have been sufficient to demonstrate RTI’s rights.

Consequently the Court ordered Libero.it to remove all videoclips and fixed a penalty of €250 per video for each additional day’s presence. The decision also provides that the amount due for damages should be determined by a second judgement following further investigation. Should RTI’s compensation request be upheld, the content provider would have to pay €100 million in compensation.

 

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