Who Needs Article 13: Italian Court Finds Facebook Liable For Hosting Links

from the seems-like-a-problem dept

As we've noted a few times now, the legacy entertainment business has decided that they no longer support Article 13, because it wasn't draconian enough. But, the real reason for their sudden cold feet was that there were a few indications that some of the European Courts might give them everything they wanted (and more) without even needing Article 13. And, that might just be happening. Recently a court in Italy found Facebook liable for hosting links to infringing content. Eleonora Rosati at IPKat both wrote about this and (thankfully) translated key parts of the ruling, such as the following:

The publication of RTI's audiovisual content through Facebook is an act of communication to a new public in that it is a public other than the one authorized by the claimant. Indeed, the links published through the Facebook page led not to content published by RTI itself through its own platform, but rather content published through a third-party site (YouTube) not authorized by RTI to making available the audiovisual content at issue. It follows that, lacking a specific authorization by RTI, the making available to the public (through a third-party portal) of the intro to animated series 'Kilari' must be considered unlawful.

Got that? This is a case where someone posted links to (likely) infringing videos on YouTube to Facebook. And of all the possible parties liable for infringing content on YouTube... the court agreed that it's Facebook that is liable because a Facebook user posted links to content on YouTube that is likely infringing. And somehow that's Facebook's fault. This is... ludicrous. But, this is also why the legacy entertainment companies are licking their chops over similar bad court rulings in the EU even absent Article 13.

The ruling's problems don't stop there. It does suggest that knowledge of the infringement is necessary, but (unlike the very reasonable -- and only workable -- standard in the US that the knowledge be specific of the infringing work and where it is) decided that no specific details are necessary for Facebook to become liable. As Rosati summarizes:

According to the Rome court... to notify a provider of an infringing activity it is not necessary to submit the relevant URL for each and every infringement.

This, again, is the kind of standard that copyright holders have been drooling over, in part because it makes it literally impossible for platforms to comply and thus leaves them liable to all sorts of lawsuits. And thus, even without Article 13, the EU is already completely screwing up the internet.

Filed Under: article 13, copyright, eu, intermediary liability, italy, links
Companies: facebook, youtube


Reader Comments

The First Word

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  1. icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 25 Feb 2019 @ 7:22pm

    Re: Re:

    New connections won't be made

    Relatives, friends, and co-workers share things like burned DVDs with each other all the time. If you think that stuff stays “in the inner circle”, so to speak, you underestimate human behavior to a ridiculous degree.

    That people are so willing to flout the law suggests imprisonment is a necessary deterrent.

    How do you think the general public will react when people begin to crowd the country’s already overcrowded jails and prisons because of copyright infringement charges? How long should these “pirates” be jailed, and what further punishments should be visited upon them after their release? If local and state police forces and the federal government lack the manpower to arrest and prosecute all “offenders”, what (if any) third party should be given the right to act as “copyright police”? And how hard would you advocate for your preferred punishment if the law were to mandate imprisonment for copyright infringement — which is what you are suggesting, whether you refer to it as “piracy” or “filesharing” — and you were arrested for infringing upon someone else’s copyright by pure accident?


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