Yahoo unhappy over Italian court's ruling on search

The court has ordered Yahoo to remove links to a pirated Iranian movie

Yahoo is unhappy with a recent ruling in an Italian court that ordered the company to remove links from its search engine that lead to pirated copies of an Iranian movie.

The 9th Division of the Court of Rome made the ruling in late March following a request for an injunction from an Italian film and television distribution company, PFA Films, which held the rights for "About Elly," an Iranian movie by director Asghar Farhadi.

The court found that Yahoo was notified of the breach, but Yahoo was liable since it did not immediately remove the links, thus contributing to copyright infringement, wrote Giulio Coraggio, an Internet and gaming attorney with the law firm DLA Piper. It marked one of the first rulings by an Italian court on the liability around linking, he wrote.

According to the European Union's e-commerce directive of 2000, service providers are exempt from liability if their networks cache or transmit illegal or infringing content, but those organizations do have a duty to act to remove it. The directive, however, does not spell out how fast that is supposed to occur.

Yahoo said it was "deeply disappointed" by the ruling, which it said was without legal precedent.

"We believe this case mistakenly focuses on search engines instead of on the creators of the offending content," according to a statement. "We believe this decision, contrary to existing legal principles, potentially seeks to force search engine companies to proactively monitor third party content on the web, and could have the potential impact of potentially stifling free expression on the Internet."

Search engines are usually not held liable for content that turns up in their search indexes. ISPs and search engines are not required to proactively monitor content but are required in some countries to remove content deemed to violate copyright regulations within a reasonable length of time.

The Italian offices of Google and Microsoft were also targeted by the injunction, but the court found that their subsidiaries did not directly manage search engines from within Italy. Microsoft's Bing search engine powers searches on Yahoo after the two companies reached a deal in July 2009.

A Yahoo spokeswoman did not have information on whether the company would appeal the ruling or if it has made changes to its search engine as a result. Microsoft officials contacted in London on Wednesday did not have an immediate comment.

Coraggio wrote the court ruling has a couple of possible impacts: it might oblige search engines to remove access to certain content upon notice from a rights holder. Also, it may extend the obligation to remove links to other websites that have linked to ones considered illegal.

In January, the Italian Communications Authority launched a public consultation on how to uphold copyright law with respect to electronic communication networks, Coraggio wrote.

The agency is leaning toward a system modelled after the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which has so-called "safe harbor" provisions to protect service providers if they take measures to respond to reports of infringing content.

Send news tips and comments to jeremy_kirk@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Yahoointellectual propertycopyrightlegalinternetsearch engines

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?