An Italian Court has held Yahoo liable for authorisation of copyright infringement for linking to a website hosting infringing content.
PFA Films, an Italian production and distribution company, the owner of all rights in the film “About Elly” asked Yahoo! Italia S.r.l to disable all links and remove all files not legally authorised by PFA in relation to the film.
The request by PFA was granted by the Court of Rome which ordered Yahoo to disable all access to links enabling internet users to reach websites hosting infringing content.
The Court’s decision was based on the interpretation of the European Union eCommerce Directive in relation to the liability of service providers. The Court characterised the search engine as a caching provider.
Whilst PFA Films did not provide Yahoo with a comprehensive list of websites demanding Yahoo to remove all content which reproducing all or a part of the film “About Elly” the Court held that Yahoo was sti held to be liable for removing all links which lead users to infringing content.
The decision doesn’t mean search engines comes under any obligation to pre-screen the content of websites to which it links, however once they are put on notice of the existence of infringing content must take down pirated links
The decision is reported here in Italian.