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Sunday, September 11, 2011

The court of Bologne (Italy) issued an interesting decision on the liability of managers of Forums. The decision was issued as part of an interim proceeding started by a company challenging the liability of Yahoo! for defamatory messages published by some users on Yahoo! Answers
In particular, the claimant required the removal of the challenged comments, the disclosure of the data of users that posted such comments and the refund of damages suffered because of the defamatory comments.
The court made reference to the liability exemption for hosting providers prescribed by the EU E-Commerce Directive 2000/31 as implemented in Italy and held that Yahoo! is a hosting provider in relation to the users’ comments published on Yahoo! Anwers and as such is not liable for the contents published by its users. Additionally, it held that the comments were not defamatory, but the expression of the “critics right” which is supported by the Italian Constitution.
Therefore the court not only excluded Yahoo!’s liability but also denied the order of removal of comments and communication of users’ rights.
This decision is interesting as it confirms the approach of a previous decision on the matter and also clarifies that Internet Service Providers are obliged to remove challenged contents and disclose users’ data only with a court order. However it is difficult to understand how this decision can be aligned with the previous decisions on the liability of video sharing websites.
Do you want to discuss the above? Feel free to contact me, Giulio Coraggio.
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Written by Giulio Coraggio

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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