Online Copyright Protection: an interesting decision by the Italian Communications Authority


On June 26, 2014 the Italian Communications Authority (AGCOM) issued an interesting decision pursuant to the Online Copyright Protection Regulations (see here and here for more information on the Regulations).

This decision is one of the firsts facing the issue of copyrighted works published on websites that are hosted outside of the Italian territory.

Pursuant to the Regulations, while for copyrighted works published on websites located in Italy AGCOM may require a selective removal of the relevant work or, in case of massive copyright violations, to disable the access to the entire website, in cases where the copyrighted work is published on a website located abroad AGCOM may only require the mere conduit providers to disable access to the entire websites. As we pointed out here, the treatment reserved to websites located abroad has given rise to some concerns.

However, the decision at issue has clarified when AGCOM is entitled to require to disable access to an entire website located abroad based on the principle of proportionality.

In this case, the request for the AGCOM’s intervention was made by a videogame developer due to one of its videogame being published on a website located abroad.

Given that the copyright violation reported by the videogame developer concerned only one copyrighted work, AGCOM maintained that the principle of proportionality led to believe that the disabling of the entire website would have been disproportionate and, accordingly, dismissed the developer’s claim. The videogame developer will need to resolve to the ordinary IP Courts to seek protection.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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