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Yahoo! – Internet liability for Searchable Contents

Internet liability

The Court of Rome has issued a decision on the Internet liability of search engines that will lead to considerable discussions. PFA Films S.r.l., as exclusive licensee of exploitation rights on the movie “About Elly” of the director Asghar Farhadi, brought an interim injunction before the Court of Rome against Google Italy S.r.l., Yahoo! Italia S.r.l. and Microsoft S.r.l. (as owner of the search engine Bing) because of the breach of their IPRs through links to websites allowing the streaming view, the downloading or P2P transfer of the movie without PFA’s consent.

The court dismissed the case in relation to Google Italy S.r.l. and Microsoft S.r.l. because the Italian companies of such groups did not have an active role in the management of the search engines.  On the contrary, the court surprisingly deemed that:

  • Yahoo! in the management of the search engine is a caching provider for the purposes of the E-Commerce Directive 2000/31/EC;
  • Yahoo! was notified of the breach by PFA; and
  • the lack of removal of the links to the movie by Yahoo! following the notification of the breach made Yahoo! contributory liable for it.

As a consequence of the above, the court set an interesting precedent on the Internet liability regime applicable in Italy ordering to Yahoo! the removal of any link to the unlawful copies of the movie!

The decision is important for 2 main reasons:

  • this approach might oblige search engines to remove the access to contents following a mere notice from the alleged right holder; and
  • it extends the removal obligation not only to the links to the websites providing the unlawful contents, but also to other websites performing lawful activities, but containing links to such unlawful websites that shall be identified by the search engine.

This is one of the first Italian court decision on the Internet liability for “linking” and triggers the question on what will be the future for the liability regime of Internet Service Providers in Italy. Also after this decision the interest for the upcoming results of the consultation from Italian Telecom Authority on the matter is increasing more and more.

Do you want to know more on the above? Feel free to contact me, Giulio Coraggio to discuss. Also, if you want to receive my newsletter, please join my LinkedIn Group or my Facebook page. And follow me on TwitterGoogle+ and become one of my friends on LinkedIn.


IT, gaming, privacy and commercial lawyer at the leading law firm DLA Piper. You can contact me via email at giulio.coraggio@gmail.com or giulio.coraggio@dlapiper.com or via phone at +39 334 688 1147.

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