Italy's Public Prosecutor 'Seizes' Giant Webmail Provider And Cloud Storage Provider, Because Copyright
from the such-is-the-internet dept
As for mail.ru, it's owned by Russian oligarch Alisher Usmanov, who (not surprisingly) is a pal of Vladimir Putin. The company put out a statement in which it says it was not informed about any of this and only found out once its users in Italy started complaining. The company is not happy about the situation. "[Eyemoon Pictures] made no attempt to resolve the situation pretrial.... No notification of illegal content or requirements to remove copies of [Eyemoon's] films has been addressed to Mail.Ru Group from law enforcement agencies and Italy."
Fulvio Sarzana, an Italian lawyer who follows these things (and first alerted us to the news) is claiming that these sites have been "seized" by the Italian government. In this context, Sarzana explained via email, the government technically is "seizing" the site, but since they have no actual ability to do so, they order ISPs to block access to them.
The decision came after an Italian film distributor complained that two movies -- that have not yet been released in Italy -- could be found on these sites. But, they could just as easily discover that someone had uploaded such films to YouTube or Dropbox or Amazon's S3 or Gmail. Would the public prosecutor order all of those sites completely blocked with no adversarial hearing whatsoever? If prosecutors in Italy truly believe that these entire sites should be "seized" or blocked in Italy, why not take them to court and hold a trial? Why jump immediately to a complete shutdown of sites used by millions for perfectly legitimate activity, just because someone was able to find two infringing files? The chilling effects in Italy from this kind of activity should be massive. It would appear to make it absolutely impossible to build any kind of internet company that allows any form of user generated content, because on a whim, the government might seize everything.