The Criminal Court of Milan ordered to Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to block the access from Italy to websites broadcasting football matches of RTI TV programs in breach of copyright laws.
Italian copyright law provides criminal sanctions for the illegal broadcasting through channels of communication of copyright protected works. The Italian Supreme Court had held in the past that while football matches per se are not copyright protected works, the video recording of such events is copyright protected.
On such understanding, the Criminal Court of Milan held as part of an interim proceeding that a number of websites that were either streaming in real time or making available on request TV programs produced by the Italian TV company RTI (part of the Mediaset group) showing football matches or even embedding contents from such sites or linking to such sites were performing a copyright breach.
Also, the court held that since the servers of such websites are either located abroad or cannot be easily identified, the enforcement of the preliminary measure against such websites required not only the seizure of the sites, their domain names and IP addresses, but also the order to ISPs operating on the Italian territory to implement a DNS blocking towards everyone attempting to connect to such sites so preventing them from accessing to the same.
This measure is interesting as shows a new recent approach by Italian courts against unlawful conducts performed on the Internet and we shall see whether it will be followed in other cases.
If you want to discuss the matter or more information on the above, feel free to contact me, Giulio Coraggio.