28 dicembre 2009

The Pirate Bay Case - Italian Supreme Court's Ruling (New Safe Harbor Created?)



Do you remember the Pirate Bay case (TPB)?  The website thepiratebay.org was subject to a temporary restraining order (TRO) in relation to a criminal copyright proceeding pending before the Court of Bergamo.  The order was successfully challenged by defendant TPB.  Following, the prosecutor brought the case before the Italian Supreme Court of Cassation seeking reversal.  The Supreme Court shared the prosecutor's position, and vacated the ruling remitting to the lower Court.

The issue with the TRO was mainly concerning the possibility to restrain a website by ordering the ISP not to connect to such identified URL and respective sub-pages.  Although such issue of practical and effective restriction of the access to a website is very interesting, I find that another notable part of the ruling concerns the "fumus commissi delicti", AKA the reasonable probability of success on the merits.

The Court anticipated TPB's liability and meanwhile mentioned a couple of interesting things about the standard for contributory infringement and (perhaps?) a new safe harbor.

The Court acknowledged that the primary infringement was undoubtedly conducted by the website-users for being them the authors of the uploading.  Yet, TPB is liable because it contributed to the relevant conduct by indexing the torrent files, and by providing a search engine to access such files.  Hence, the threshold for contributory infringement lays with these additional activities which constitute sufficient basis to charge TBD as co-conspirator in the infringing conduct ("concorso nel reato").

But the very interesting is that, according to the Court, TPB would be innocent if its conduct was "completely agnostic" (i.e. just unaware...) of the content of the files uploaded by users.  Hence, this decision adopts a very severe notion of control with respect to the infringing conduct, being mere knowledge sufficient.

The Court goes forward and surprisingly states that such agnostic situation is present in the social networking sites because in such SNS the indexing and listing of files is performed at a peripheral level, by users.  Thus, only the users (uploading files) may be found liable.  And this is pretty much where the decision doesn't make sense I get lost...

Anyway, few things seem clear enough:  1) providing a file-sharing tool is O.K.  as long as the files are not indexed and/or searchable (so... Google beware!);  2) if torrents, links or other content are "agnostically" stored is still O.K., 3) if you share copyrighted material on a social network you may end up being the only one liable.


Here below in the image is the relevant part of the ruling... in Italian.


17 dicembre 2009

Mediaset Wins Injunction Vs. Youtube (UPDATED)

This post is in Italian... Sorry :)

Leggo il post di Matteo Flora, consulente di Mediaset, che diffonde il comunicato della vittoria di Mediaset contro Youtube nel contenzioso riguardante la rimozione di contenuti Mediaset su Youtube.

Queste alcune mie considerazioni "a caldo", cosi' come postate in commento al blog di Matteo:

Davvero non capisco cosa ci sia di "storico" nel fare rimuovere da Youtube contenuti gia' accertati "illeciti".  E non ci voleva certo il giudice ad accertare che "il Grande Fratello" sia un prodotto proprietario.  Quanto alla responsabilita' (per "contributory/secondary infringment" forse, vista la qualifica di editore) di Youtube, la decisione ristabilisce una nozione di controllo che riporta la giurispurdenza italiana ai tempi di Napster.
Comunque il dispositivo della decisione e' ASSOLUTAMENTE OVVIO
[-- l'immediata rimozione di immagini fisse o video relative al "Grande Fratello" decima edizione;
-- di terminare immediatamente la violazione dei diritti connessi al GF;  
-- il respingimento delle richieste di entrambe le parti.]
Infatti, pittosto che una costosa lite dinanzi all'AGO Mediaset avrebbe, altrattanto efficaciemente, potuto invocare  una rimozione (Take Down) con una DMCA Take Down Notice (regime interamente recepito dai TOS di Youtube). E avrebbe probabilmente potuto trovare un accordo con Youtube sulle modalita’ per l’identificazione dei contenuti ritenuti infringing. Del resto fanno cosi’ content provider della rinomanza di Lucas Film, Universal Studios, CBS, etc. etc. Ancora, molti di questi content provider sono riusciti a concludere con Youtube accordi di rev-sharing relativi agli ads collocati nelle pagine con contenuti proprietari oltre ad includere nei video meccanismi di promozione diretta dei propri contenuti. La scarsa conoscenza del mezzo e la ricerca di una sentenza di grande risonanza mediatica hanno invece portato a questa strategia (processuale e di business) poco lungimirante e difficilmente remunerativa, IMHO. Sono in attesa di vedere come nel merito Mediaset quantifichera’ i danni… considerando che potrebbe vedersi eccepire, in compensazione, le addizionali revenues generate dalla maggior diffusione dei propri contenuti. Noto a margine che in Italia non esistono neppure i treble damages da applicare al willful infringement… Per cui: se l’effetto positivo e’ superiore alla effettiva diminuzione degli ascolti o del valore dell’opera protetta: niente danno e la sanzione dovra’ essere solo ingiuntiva…. Cioe’ la stessa cosa che si sarebbe potuta ottenere in via non contenziosa compilando un modulo di poche righe.  Ma, come si dice... À la guerre comme à la guerre!
UPDATE Preciso che non si tratta di compensazione in senso tecnico, come domanda o eccezione riconvenzionale (nel qual caso sarebbe necessario un credito). Ma si tratta di un effetto di limitazione/eliminazione del danno (compensa in senso economico), da valutarsi ai sensi del 1223 e ai sensi del 1226 c.c.. In mancanza di “conseguenze economiche negative” Mediaset ha diritto solo alla tutela ingiuntiva e i danni morali... Visto che nel nostro ordinamento non esistono danni punitivi. 

14 dicembre 2009

EU Ratifies WIPO Internet Treaties

The EU formally ratified the WIPO Copyright Treaty and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (together known as the "Internet Treatisies").  In practice, this is not a revolution for the applicable regulation since: 1) many EU member States were already and directly parties to these treaties; 2) the content of the WIPO Internet Treaties was mostly included in the Directive 2001/29/EC (Copyright Directive - implemented by all the 27 EU members).

However, this ratification has a symbolic meaning because it is the first time that the EU holds the status of contracting party in the field of copyright.  This surely represents a strong endorsement of the WIPO's role in reinforcing international copyright protection and the rights of performers and phonogram producers on the Internet and other digital networks.

11 dicembre 2009

Facebook Publishing Settings

Facebook keeps asking me if I intend to change my privacy settings or stick with the old ones.  Well, I tried to choose the latter but it looks like my decision was not convincing for Facebook... In fact, when today it prompted me again with the same question (and I replied in the same way) I found that my "old" settings were not the old ones whatsoever.  So, I patiently had to go back, review and re-uncheck everything... because, in case you had any doubts, the default settings are such that you share everything.
So, why don't they just come clean and start asking whether you want to manage your publishing settings?


09 dicembre 2009

Facebook Offers to Settle Privacy Class Action

Yesterday I received an interesting message from Facebook (not my friends on Facebook...):
Facebook is sending you this notice of a proposed class action settlement that may affect your legal rights as a Facebook member who may have used the Beacon program.  [...]
Under the proposed settlement, Facebook will terminate the Beacon program.  In addition, Facebook will provide $9.5 million to establish an independent non-profit foundation that will identify and fund projects and initiatives that promote the cause of online privacy, safety, and security. [...]
This was already on the media some weeks ago.  Now, you can also read all the details and documents regarding this case  HERE.  Facebook admitted no liability for the Beacon case.  It is very generous that Facebook offered to pay $9.5 to establish a non-profit...

Post più popolari