or the first time under Italian law a platform (Facebook) has been found liable for hosting third-party links to unlicensed content.
The decision was issued by the Rome Court of First Instance a few days ago: it is Tribunale di Roma, sentenza 3512/2019.
The judgment is both interesting and important, also considering the YouTube referral (C-682/18) currently pending before the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) [Katpost here].
Let's see more in detail what happened and how the Rome court reasoned.
Broadcaster Reti Televisive Italiane SpA (RTI) and singer Valentina Ponzone sued Facebook over the creation, on the latter, of a profile that hosted unlicensed videos and defamatory comments relating to Ms Ponzone's performance of the intro to the Italian version of Japanese animated TV series Kilari. The profile also contained a photograph of Ms Ponzone dressed up as character Kilari, and links to videos hosted on YouTube and consisting of extracts from the animated TV series.
Facebook received 5 requests to deactivate the profile at issue, as well as removing all images, videos, and links. The relevant profile was only removed in 2012, ie 2 years after the first request had been sent.
RTI and Ms Ponzone submitted that Facebook would be liable for defamation and violation of image rights, as well as infringement of RTI's exclusive rights over Kilari and trade mark 'Italia 1'. They also claimed damages for EUR 500,000 (EUR 250,000 for Ms Ponzone and EUR 500,000 for RTI).
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