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Italy: ISPs not responsible for third party piracy

A Milan Court has ruled that telcos and ISPs cannot be held responsible for protection of online content. The Court rejected the supervision order requested by pay-TV operator Mediaset Premium against telecom operators TIM, Vodafone, Wind, Tre, Fastweb and Tiscali for “violation of its exclusive rights perpetrated online by a third party”.

The broadcaster had requested that the operators were ordered to disable access to the incriminated portal, as well as alias sites and IP addresses associated with them.

In rejecting Mediaset’s request, the judge underlined the basic principles for the protection of copyright. Complainant must be specific regarding the object of access restriction; the blocking order will only apply to the offending DNS address. Also TV rights holders do not have the exclusive right to establish there has been an infringement.

The case regards the illegal live streaming of Italian Serie A and UEFA Champions League football matches of which Mediaset Premium has the exclusive Italian TV rights, by online platform Calcion.at.

The Court’s decision has been welcomed by the Italian Telecom Industry Association (Asstel), which pointed out that, while operators are fully committed to protecting the intellectual property rights, they “cannot be held responsible for the conduct of others, for the supervision or the implementation of measures that neglect the proper balance between the need for protection of intellectual property rights and other fundamental rights”.

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