Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Yahoo is Responsible for Illegal Downloads

There was a horrible decision from the Court of Rome. Apparently people could view pirated copies of a movie (About Elly) on line. The Court of Rome ordered Yahoo to remove any link to the unlawful copies of the movie.

The only reason the Court did not include Google and other SEs is because the Italian division of those companies did not have an active role in the management of the search engines and thus were outside the jurisdiction of the court.

If this decision stands then search engines would be responsible for the content found through their site. The court did say that it would be impossible for the SE to police the material themselves but was responsible for promptly acting when a copyrite holder makes a claim about pirated material. The court also took into consideration the fact that the illegal sites were ranked higher than the official site. SEO anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

The fact that a SE is, in anyway, responsible for the material on the web is a horrible precedence. Intentional or not this is the first step to shutting down commercial activity across the web; the first step to eliminated any non-approved site. This is a special concern to anyone who is interested in privacy rights and free speech.

I can't find an English translation of the case but if you can read Italian here it is.

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