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.”