Italian Court Overturns Seizure Of Cyberlocker Rapidgator
from the big-news dept
In April we wrote about how Italian law enforcement had blocked over two dozen websites after the industry claimed they were responsible for copyright infringement. There was no trial, no adversarial hearing where the sites were able to defend themselves. Just: entertainment industry complains, law enforcement buys the complaints, tells a judge and boom, site gone. One of the cyberlockers blocked in this effort, Rapidgator, challenged this blockade, and it has quickly won a reversal. Rapidgator’s lawyer, Fulvio Sarzana, was kind enough to send us the details, and it appears the court understood why the initial blockade was hugely problematic.
The court overturned the ruling that came out of the investigation, and made a few key points, according to Sarzana. He said that court ruled that cyberlockers are legitimate if they have a notice and takedown system, and that the owner of the site is not liable for infringements done by users (basic secondary liability protections). It also said that the seizure of an entire site goes “against the principles of reasonableness, proportionality and adequacy.”
Unfortunately, the ruling only applies to Rapidgator, since it was the only one who hired a lawyer in Italy and appealed. In response to the ruling Sarzana issued the following statement:
The copyright holders contend that the only way in which they can obtain effective relief to prevent, or at least reduce infringements of their copyrights is by means of an order against ISPs. But this is stupid since the concerns about over-blocking, and ease of circumvention are widely recognized. Blocking through the ISPs is not a silver bullet to stop web copyright infringement. It is, in fact, a way to balkanize the web.
Having strong secondary liability protections, as well as basic due process before blocking access to sites would be a huge step in the right direction, so it’s good to see an Italian court recognize these basic principles.